Past & Present of Immigration


Duration 8 days
Suggested group size 12 - 20 students / 2 Envoys Field Staff
Suggested ages 12 - 18
Experience Border Studies


Past & Present of Immigration in the American Southwest

Arizona I

This program dives into the complexity of immigration in the United States, starting with legal aspects in a border state. It explores the economic influence of local businesses and fosters collaboration with Tucson community schools. Participants engage in a peer exchange project with families in Nogales, Arizona, and Mexico, understanding the diverse stories shaping America. The program culminates with a visit to the border and conversations with immigration stakeholders.

“Arizona unveils nature's artistry, where the sun paints the canvas of the Grand Canyon.“


“In the heart of the Southwest, Arizona's rugged beauty mirrors the resilience of saguaros, standing tall under the vast desert sky.“


Impact Statement Everywhere we go, we carry a promise – to engage with respect, act with purpose, and leave a positive imprint. As envoys of our journey is more than travel; Our footprint is light, but our impact is profound, creating bridges of cooperation and mutual growth across the globe.

Day 1

Upon arrival, students are welcomed by Envoys educators and settle into accommodations. Following a safety briefing and team-building activity, they visit Desert Botanical Gardens to view illuminated Chihuly glass sculptures. The day concludes with a self-guided mural tour at Roosevelt Row.

Day 2

After a local breakfast, we visit immigration lawyers' offices aiding newcomers to the US. We then drive to Tucson, pausing at the Huhugam Heritage Center to learn about the Gila River Indian Community. Following check-in at Tucson accommodations, we dine out and debrief for the day.

Day 3

In the morning, we explore Tucson. Through an Amazing Race-style activity, we navigate landmarks, and engage with locals. After lunch, we meet with the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to learn about their advocacy for Latino businesses. We discuss social entrepreneurship and pathways for change.

Day 4

We meet with local NGOs supporting immigrant rights, like the International Rescue Committee and the Colibri Human Rights Center to understand their border-related work. Then, we engage with at-risk immigrant students. We focus on trust-building, cultural exchange, and a collaborative project.

Day 5

Like the 4th day, we meet with the International Rescue Committee and the Colibri Human Rights Center, and then, visit a school for at-risk immigrant students. We continue to work on the collaborative Design Challenge project.

Day 6

After breakfast, we visit Saguaro National Park to learn about its conservation efforts and engage in service with the National Parks Service. In the afternoon we rest and prepare for an informed debate on the next day, sharing our knowledge of border and immigration issues.

Day 7

We visit Nogales, a border town at the heart of the immigration debate, and meet agents at the Border Patrol Station to explore their perspectives on immigration. If possible, we cross the border to explore both sides of Nogales. Back at the hotel, we debate on immigration and border control.

Day 8

We have a closing ceremony for the program with a full program debrief and reflection workshop so students can process their experiences, and prepare to share their learnings and growth with their family and school community. Then, we transfer back to Phoenix for our flights home.

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Lenses of Inquiry



Students gain empathy and insight into migration by engaging directly with affected communities. Pre-program online modules foster empathy and respect. Through interactive activities in Arizona, students connect with diverse communities, moving beyond news reports to real human stories.



Students gain insight into the complexities of the 'American Dream' and their role in it through Envoys' exploration of migration histories in the Southwestern US. Reflective group discussions enhance understanding of past events and their relevance to modern contexts encountered during travel.



Students reflect on their observations and engage in discussions with peers and locals. They develop action plans for sharing their learning and privilege with their home communities. By the end, students can articulate well-structured perspectives on migration and immigration in the US.


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