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2/3/2014 8:06:00 AM
Students explore immigration in border town
La Salle Prep photo
La Salle Prep students leave fresh water for migrants in borderland desert.
La Salle Prep photo
La Salle Prep students leave fresh water for migrants in borderland desert.

MILWAUKIE — In November, a group of La Salle Prep students traveled to a border town in Arizona to witness the stark reality of immigration.

“Before going on the Arizona immersion, we were completely blind to the reality of the current immigration issue here in America,” said junior Ruben Estrada.

When the students visited a courtroom they were met with the sight of shackled immigrants awaiting deportation hearings. The students toured a Border Patrol station in Tucson and eventually walked across the border to Mexico to visit a soup kitchen and a women’s shelter. At the soup kitchen they helped with dishes, served food and spent time talking with recent deportees about their experiences.

At the shelter, the group met women who shared their terrifying stories.

“As we all listened to these women break down in tears and tell us what they had to go through simply to earn a better life for themselves and their families, I found myself crying because I wanted to help them so badly and there was very little I could have done,” explains Cara Weiler, a La Salle junior.

Upon reflecting on their service immersion trip, the students say the experience forced them to see first-hand the human tragedy and complexity of immigration in this country.
Estrada and Weiler have been called to action.

“We have a responsibility to respect all persons, and when people are so clearly not being given the respect they deserve, we must change, stop looking the other way, and begin acting in a way that can help all of our fellow people in need,” Weiler said.

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