/ Modified jul 19, 2016 8:44 a.m.

On Arizona-Mexico Border, 'It's a Community ... Not Separate'

College students immerse themselves in border life, finding common ground.

US / Mexico Border Wall Border wall in Arizona separating the United States and Mexico.
AZPM Staff

LISTEN

Imagine being from Minnesota and seeing the U.S.-Mexican border for the first time. It’s part of an internship program that brings students from around the country to form their own conclusions about the border.

Among four who went through the program this summer is Natalie Somerson, from the University of Minnesota. Somerson said she thought she would see two distinct countries. She was wrong.

“It’s this idea of the Ambos Nogales," she said. "It’s a community. It’s not two separate nations.”

She joined three other students, from the University of Arizona, Kent State University in Ohio and the University of North Florida.

They spent five weeks working on both sides of the border as part of the Border Incentives Internship Program. They worked alongside migrant shelter workers, they talked with Border Patrol officers and politicians and spent three days camped out with the No More Deaths human rights group.

They said, for the most part, they found people willing to work together, along with consistent opposition to creating more barriers between countries. Somerson said her observation was that the further you get from the border, the more polarized people are.

“I think that’s also part of the problem is that people are so set in their partisan ways," Somerson said. "If somebody is conservative, then it’s assumed that they want the wall, and if somebody is liberal it’s assumed they want open borders."

MORE: Arizona, Border, News
By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
Arizona Public Media broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents. Arizona Public Media and AZPM are registered trademarks of the Arizona Board of Regents.
The University of Arizona