Border Awareness Experience:

A local's perspective by Eric Licerio


I've lived in El Paso, TX all my life, a place that has a seamless boundary in  three states (TX, NM & Chihuaha, MX) and two nations (U.S. and Mexico). 


In volunteering to be the driver for the Border Awareness Experience, I've learned of the many issues undocumented people have to face. Including the difficult and sometimes impossible process of becoming a resident.  As I listened to a Dreamer’s presentation, I thought to myself how petty my problems are as compared to Alejandra.  I realized how fortunate I am to have been born a U.S. Citizen and how unappreciative I have been to have such a privilege.


Being able to see both sides of the issue was quite an eye opening experience. I personally enjoyed the border patrol tour and visiting the   federal immigration court. I learned how border protection works and that the fence was not the solution to stop immigration but rather slow it down and deter families with children from risking their lives when crossing the border. At the courthouse I learned how compassionate attorneys and judges can be towards undocumented immigrants and others who are not.


I experienced the human side of the issue by hearing from Dreamers and organizations advocating for  immigrant rights. I am amazed at how much I learned from this program about issues I rarely paid attention to which are a major focus in our area.  Because of this, I plan to take a more active stance in my community.