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Sessions during your Border Encounter 
Journey to the U.S. Southern Border

What is a Border Encounter like?

•Orientation, Abara’s Story, Local Histories

•Dignified Storytelling, Ethical Volunteerism, Empowerment

•Immigration 101 and Global Migration

•Visiting shelters, the border fence, & Border Patrol

•Potential Volunteer opportunities 

•Theology of Migration (faith groups)

•Processing issues such as nationalism and racial justice

•Lament and Reflection and Action Plans (returning home)

  • What Does Abara Mean?
    Abara means “ford” in a number of semitic languages Signifying a developing pathway or a natural place where a river is shallow enough to cross. Our desire is to cultivate space where people move in humility across divides, learn from each other, and jointly address pressing concerns in love.
  • How can I learn more about Abara Borderland Connections?
    Abara Borderland Connections, a nonprofit based in El Paso, TX, seeks to foster deeper understanding about the realities of immigration and life on the border. Abara was born out of the long-term work of a neighborhood-based, faith-rooted ministry known as Ciudad Nueva. Abara cultivates opportunities for understanding, serving, and loving across divides through education, encounters, and response. Today, Abara is focused on accomplishing this mission by: Facilitating encounters on the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso & Ciudad Juarez Resourcing and connecting migrant shelters on both sides of the border Collaborating with other organizations East to West along the U.S.-Mexico border and along the migrant pathways from Central America Beyond the Encounter is a deeper dive into understanding some of the realities of the border through the voices and perspectives of those who live here and call this bi-national community home.
  • Why are people crossing the border, and how are the children?"
    Abara offers a brief summary. Few people want to leave their homeland, culture, family, or the familiarity of one’s life. Many who seek refuge, or who are forcibly displaced, sojourn throughout Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Haiti, Cuba, and various African nations. The primary pathways for migration are often linked to: Blood (Family-Based immigration) Sweat (Employment-Based Immigration) Tears (Refugee or Asylee Status) Chance (The Diversity Visa-Lottery is another pathway) “Violence and insecurity, poverty and family reunification remain important drivers of migration from Central America.” World Migration Report Stats (pgs. 104-113) “The estimated number and proportion of international migrants already surpasses some projections made for the year 2050, which were in the order of 2.6 per cent or 230 million.10 That said, it is widely recognized that the scale and pace of international migration is notoriously difficult to predict with precision because it is closely connected to acute events (such as severe instability, economic crisis or conflict) as well as long-term trends (such as demographic change, economic development, communications technology advances and transportation access).” - World Migration Report Update: 2021 El Paso, TX Currently and for the past 10 months, Title 42 has turned away almost all asylum seekers arriving at the US-Mexico border due to COVID-19 concerns. However, the US will start admitting asylum seekers who have been waiting in Mexico for up to a year and a half throughout MPP (known as “Remain in Mexico”). On February 26th, 2021, 25 migrants arrived at Annunciation House hospitality centers in El Paso, before transportation is arranged to their sponsor families elsewhere in the United States. As many as 300 migrants per day are now being processed until the number reaches a total number of 10,000 who are based in our border community. The local Office of Emergency Management is running a quarantine hotel site for anyone who is identified as COVID positive
  • How is Abara responding to immigration and racial injustice?
    Abara recently wrapped up the first cohort of an 11-week Race Literacy Course. Over the past few weeks, Abara’s team had phenomenal guest speakers including Dylan Corbett, Director of Hope Border Institute here in El Paso; Dominique DuBois Gilliard, nationally renowned racial justice author and advocate; Alexia Salvatierra, faith-rooted advocacy organizer and Lutheran pastor; and Vince Bantu, assistant professor of church history and Black church studies at Fuller Seminary. Each voice has challenged participants, inviting them to think about the ways in which the church and other hegemonic institutions have perpetuated racism in our country. Abara is already looking forward to a second cohort. Abara categorically and unequivocally rejects racism and violence against Asian Americans. We wholly devote ourselves to the dismantling of harmful institutions and ideologies which perpetuate violence against Asian Americans: White supremacy, the patriarchy, xenophobia, fetishization/sexualization of Asian women.
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