Border Issues: Mexico-U.S. Border Immersion

Social Concerns Seminar
SOC 43444
CSC 43444
CST 43444
ILS 43444


In-Class Description:

This is the first part of a Catholicism and the Disciplines (CAD) seminar about immigration issues—especially those related to the México-U.S. border. For this part (two credits), we will meet in class to read and to discuss social scientific research about such topics as why migrants leave their home countries, what they encounter and experience when attempting to cross the border, the responses of U.S.-based citizen groups to unauthorized border crossings, and the effectiveness of current U.S. enforcement policies. We also normatively evaluate these responses and policies, particularly from a Catholic perspective (but also from other faith, non-religious perspectives). Lastly, we will process and reflect on our immersion trip to the Southern Arizona borderlands (the co-requisite class, SOC 45444 [or equivalent cross-listing] Mexico-U.S. Border Immersion Experience, requires separate registration and takes place over the semester’s mid-term break), including discussing what a uniquely Catholic border policy would look like, strategies to raise awareness about what is going in these borderlands, and migration issues and responses to them in other parts of the world.

SOC 45444 (CSC 45444, CST 45444, ILS 45444)

Immersion Description:

This is the second (experiential-learning) part of a Catholicism and the Disciplines (CAD) seminar about immigration issues—especially those related to the México-U.S. border. Like the first corequisite part (SOC 43444 [or equivalent cross-listing] Mexico-US Border Seminar), students will receive two credits for successfully completing it. Over the semester’s mid-term break, we will travel to the Southern Arizona borderlands for a week-long immersion trip. Among the activities in which we will engage on the trip are: (1) observing Operation Streamline legal proceedings; (2) attending a humanitarian aid training; (3) touring a Border Patrol facility; (4) going to the border wall and learning about its environmental impact; (5) hearing from Catholic and leaders of other faith traditions about their social justice work along the border; (6) visiting Arivaca and Nogales to experience everyday life in a border community; and (7) participating in a Samaritans’ humanitarian desert trip.

To be eligible, students must complete an application (See Application Process below). Enrollment is competitive. The 18 available spots will be chosen based on the application responses. Students will be notified about their status within a week of submitting the application. This is a graded course. Department approval is required. For further information on the seminar, please go to the course description in Class Search.

Immersion Location: 

Southern Arizona Borderlands

Immersion Dates: March 5-12, 2022

Things to Note:

  • As part of participation in a seminar, we seek to live intentionally and simply during the immersion, please be flexible. We ask that you take the opportunity to invest fully and embrace the change of pace and amenities.
  • You will receive more specific details about your experience during preparation classes.
  • Most meals will be prepared by your team or in conjunction with your hosts on site.
  • Student leaders and your seminar director will be your liaison with community partner contacts.
  • Lodging is provided. You will be responsible for your own bedding. Please plan ahead as many sites ask for students to bring sleeping bags.
  • You must participate in all class sessions and entire immersion in order to complete the requirements for the course. Immersion implies night stays. If you miss any class for any reason you will be responsible for making the class up.
  • This seminar fulfills the requirements of Catholicism and the Disciplines (CAD) Elective, the Catholic Social Teaching (CSTE) Elective, and also the Poverty Studies Minor (PSIM) Elective.


Seminar Director
(574) 631-8517
Seminar Fee of $300 and airfare to and from Tucson, Arizona (financial assistance available for both)
Application Process: 
  • (1) Completed application and (2) Possible interviews (you will be notified about interviews via email).
  • Registration approval will be granted by the department upon acceptance into the Seminar.
  • Notification of seminar placement will happen before the University deadline to register through NOVO.
  • If you are not selected for participation in your first choice of seminars, you will be given the opportunity to participate in another seminar if there is still availability.
  • By submitting the application, you confirm you are in good academic standing.
  • For admitted students, the cost for this seminar is charged to your student account upon completion of the immersion. Full seminar fee will be charged for all withdrawals on or after the second date of the seminar class session.
  • Contact for inquiries regarding financial assistance. 
  • With questions about your application, email



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