Border Reflections

Saint Mary’s professors took an immersive trip to the U.S.–Mexico border to investigate social justice concerns regarding cross-border migration policy through the lens of Lasallian Catholic traditions.

During a six-day, 1,200-mile road trip, nine professors were invited to step out of their comfort zones, sleep on cots, and adjust to hours of travel in a narrow van. Their destination: the California–Mexico border. 

“The Migrant Lives Border Immersion Program is a pilot initiative that offers faculty an immersion opportunity to the U.S.–Baja border to explore how the Catholic intellectual tradition fosters thoughtful academic ideas and responses to the critical issue and impact of contemporary immigration,” said Karin L. McClelland, director of the Mission and Ministry Center (MMC). “The overall goal is for faculty to examine the complex social justice concerns related to cross-border migration and incorporate their immersion experiences in their teaching.”

Sponsored by the Office of Mission and the MMC, the mid-July immersion was co-led by History Professor Myrna Santiago. “At this moment in our country’s history, our faculty identified immigration policy as an urgent matter that cries out for in-depth understanding and analysis from a Saint Mary’s perspective: that is, a critical liberal arts approach based on Catholic social teaching, with the ultimate Lasallian goal of becoming the best teachers we can be for our students,” said Santiago.