The voice of Truman members, writing in their personal capacity.

February 20, 2024
A Transformative Experience at the Mexico/United States Border

A Transformative Experience at the Mexico/United States Border

Written by
Truman Communications Team

Immigration policy discussions often feel detached from the human stories at the heart of the matter. To bring a human touch to this critical issue, in September 2023, the Truman Center organized a profound two-day experiential learning workshop in San Diego and Tijuana. Aimed at members of the Truman National Security Project, this workshop sought to bridge the gap between policy and the lived experiences of those directly affected by immigration dynamics.

Seventeen Truman members from across the country gathered in San Diego to delve into the intricate dynamics of immigration. The workshop commenced with a powerful experience at the Mexico/United States border. Hosted by the San Diego chapter, members engaged with officials from the National Institute of Migration (INAMI) in Mexico, gaining insights into how migration is managed on the Mexican side of the border.

Adam Lichtenheld, a workshop participant, emphasized the importance of firsthand experiences, stating, "As much data as we collect…nothing really replaces having the personal experience of going and seeing these issues in person."

The journey continued with visits to shelters in Tijuana, offering a close look at the challenges faced by individuals and families seeking to cross the U.S. border. The Latina Muslim Foundation's shelter provided a unique perspective, serving Muslim refugees from various regions. Another shelter highlighted ongoing challenges in supporting a growing number of migrants.

Marielle Ali, reflecting on her experience, shared, "As the daughter of an immigrant, it really hit home for me. I hope that through this opportunity we can all work together to identify better solutions to our broken immigration system."

The second day, hosted at the University of San Diego's Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, aimed to deepen members' understanding and identify solutions to migration challenges. Panel discussions with local officials and experts covered critical areas, exploring the multifaceted aspects of everyday life at the border.

Truman members are taking the knowledge gained in Tijuana and San Diego back to their communities. With a focus on advocating for humane, strategic, and secure immigration policies, they aim to contribute to meaningful change. The Truman Center remains committed to its pursuit of timely, principled, and innovative solutions to complex national security challenges.

The transformative workshop at the Mexico/United States border underscored the importance of connecting policy discussions to real-world experiences. By fostering understanding and empathy, the Truman Center continues to play a vital role in shaping conversations around immigration.

Truman National Security Project
Truman Communications Team