How much do your delegations cost?
Our standard rate is $180 per person per day. This includes all programming, interpretation, lodging, meals, and transportation (excluding airfare to and from Tucson). We require a $500 deposit from groups and a $100 deposit from individuals at the time of booking to reserve your space. BorderLinks offers special rates for some delegations, as we believe that all should be able to participate in our programs regardless of financial resources. Email email@example.com to inquire about pricing.
How do I schedule a delegation for my group? for myself?
Are there age limits on your programs?
Most of our participants range in age from 15-70 years old. We will accept students as young as 11, and we have no upper age limit on participation. However, we urge potential delegates to consider whether a BorderLinks delegation is an appropriate experience, particularly for younger students. Even with a more relaxed schedule, our delegations typically consist of long days (11-13 hours) and include meetings with local community members, workshops, court and detention visits, and walks in the desert. We will defer to your judgement about whether this kind of programming is suitable for your young ones.
How does BorderLinks put together itineraries for groups?
BorderLinks prepares itineraries for delegations that are tailored to the goals and needs of each delegation and that are appropriate for the duration of the delegation's time at BorderLinks. Approximately two months before a delegation arrives, a BorderLinks program organizer will contact the trip leader to begin the itinerary preparation process, and a final itinerary is usually ready a week or so prior to the trip. Last-minute changes to itineraries are common, in order to take advantage of unique opportunities or to meet the needs of our partner organizations.
Can our group cross into Mexico? Can some members cross while others stay in Tucson?
Many groups desire to cross into Mexico to see the effects of U.S trade policy on the Mexican economy or the conditions under which people labor, or to learn about the journeys that migrants take to reach the border. BorderLinks believes it is important to provide such programming.
However, BorderLinks has a strict policy of not allowing groups to be divided. And often one or more individuals in a group will not have the necessary documentation to cross the border. BorderLinks believes all people – regardless of documentation or financial resources – are equal participants in the educational process, and we will not allow group members without documents to be left out of a part of that group’s experience and learning.
Group leaders at times promote BorderLinks trips as including crossing the border, failing to realize that some people interested in the BorderLinks experience may lack the necessary documents, or the financial resources to obtain those documents. BorderLinks strongly urges group leaders to not promote a BorderLinks trip as including time in Mexico in order to not limit participation to people with documents.
If a group cannot cross, BorderLinks educational programming can meet many of the goals the group wanted to accomplish in Mexico. Much of BorderLinks strongest programming is in Tucson, where great work is being done on migrant justice issues.
For some groups the desire to cross the border is more a matter of tourism than education. BorderLinks does not provide tourism experiences. Groups desiring tourism activities should make those arrangements on their own or with other organizations that provide tourism services.
Who can pass safely through Border Patrol checkpoints?
Border Patrol checkpoints are located on all roads that lead north from the border, 10-15 miles away from the border. Only U.S. Citizens can pass through Border Patrol checkpoints without worry. Under the current administration, the response of Border Patrol agents to people with other statuses – students with visas, asylum applicants, DACAmented people, and others – has become much less predictable. BorderLinks constantly monitors the checkpoint experiences of our delegations and reports from experts. BorderLinks may need to change itineraries at the last minute in order to keep delegates safe.
Who do BorderLinks delegations meet with and learn from?
BorderLinks delegations meet with a variety of our partners. Delegations will learn from many of the following organizations:
- Derechos Humanos (Tucson)
- ScholarshipsA-Z (Tucson)
- Mariposas Sin Fronteras (Tucson)
- Paisanos Unidos (Tucson)
- Café Justo (Agua Prieta)
- End Streamline Coalition (Tucson)
- The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project (Tucson and Florence)
- Frontera de Cristo (Douglas)
- Tucson Samaritans (Tucson)
- No More Deaths (Tucson)
- People Helping People in the Borderlands (Arivaca)
- Southside Presbyterian Church (Tucson)
- Southside Workers Center (Tucson)
Can our group meet with Border Patrol agents?
BorderLinks educational model focuses on the voices and experiences of undocumented people. Our building is a safe place for people to listen to each other, regardless of status. The presence of immigration enforcement officials in our building would make many people unwilling to participate in our programs. Border Patrol agents do not have much oversight or accountability, and we cannot prevent individual agents from violating the law or harassing or intimidating BorderLinks participants and partners. Thus, BorderLinks does not allow Border Patrol agents in its building.
In addition, BorderLinks will not facilitate meetings between delegations and immigration enforcement officials. In years past, BorderLinks did invite Border Patrol representatives to make presentations to groups who desired to hear their perspective. But we found those presentations to be public relations exercises that did not address problems such as human rights violations or border militarization and did not lead to constructive dialogue or learning. The Border Patrol’s webpage and most mainstream media coverage provide a platform for their perspective. We have chosen to focus our programming on the voices and experiences of undocumented people and on migrant communities fighting for justice as a way to highlight the work they are doing, work which often is not accessible or portrayed in mainstream media or the dominant narrative in this country.
What housing and food do you offer?
Delegates stay in BorderLinks' dorm, located in the BorderLinks office. Ten high-walled cubicles provide sleeping space for up to 34 people (or up to 48 people if some delegates are willing to sharebeds). Because cubicle walls do not extend to the ceiling, some delegates bring earplugs. BorderLinks provides clean linen and blankets for the beds.
BorderLinks staff prepare simple, healthy, and balanced lunches and dinners in the BorderLinks kitchen, where delegates eat. Meals often reflect Mexican or Central American influences. Delegates prepare their own breakfasts with ingredients provided by BorderLinks. BorderLinks maintains a vegetarian kitchen. BorderLinks staff have experience adapting meals to meet any dietary restrictions, if delegates inform us of their needs when they register.
What is the best way to travel to Tucson?
The Tucson airport is a 20-minute drive from the BorderLinks office. Greyhound provides bus service to Tucson, and Amtrak provides train service three days each week.
BorderLinks’ staff is happy to do one group pickup and drop off between the hours of 8am and 8pm at the Tucson airport or Tucson Greyhound station. Otherwise, delegates will need to arrange their own transportation to the BorderLinks office – taxi fares are approximately $25 each way, and Lyft and Uber around $20.
Some delegates choose to fly into Phoenix, as flights there can be cheaper. However, Phoenix is about two hours away by car, and delegates arriving in Phoenix must make their own arrangements for transportation to Tucson. Companies providing regular service between Phoenix and Tucson include the Arizona Shuttle and Greyhound. Shuttle companies charge around $45 per person each way; Greyhound is cheaper. Our van rental company, Adobe Transportation, can also provide Phoenix-Tucson transportation and is often the cheapest option for a group of 11-14 people.
Do you allow alcohol?
No alcohol is allowed at BorderLinks. The safety of BorderLinks delegates is a primary concern. Alcohol consumption increases the risk of injury in and around the BorderLinks building, and it increases the risk of dehydration – a very serious risk for much of the year because the climate is very dry in southern Arizona. While delegates who are over the age of 21 can drink at local bars or restaurants, we highly recommend that delegates consume no alcohol at all when staying at BorderLinks.
What should you drink?
WATER. The National Park Service recommends drinking one liter (or one quart) every hour when hiking in warm, dry weather (April through October). Please be sure to bring a water bottle or the BorderLinks staff can sell you one from our little shop.
What is the BorderLinks shop?
The BorderLinks shop is actually a small display cabinet by the BorderLinks office area. It houses items delegates may find helpful or interesting: books about migration-related issues, some by authors who speak with BorderLinks delegations; water bottles; BorderLinks t-shirts; buttons and patches; and a variety of odds and ends.