Immigration and Border Crossings

INTD - 30050
Fall 2015 - Hiram College, Lorain County Community College (LCCC), and TRI-C

Carol Donley

Roger F. Cram
Home: 330-569-7962
Cell: 330-569-4912

PowerPoint and Video Presentations Used in This Class
(Be patient - it may take several minutes to open these files. If asked for a password and username, click "cancel.")

The "Beast" and Immokalee, Florida
The Fourth Amendment and Search and Seizure

Borderline - Poetry and Drawings

Drugs, Tunnels, and Cartels
Immigration Heroes
USA Immigration History

The Border Fence and Victim Children

 TRI-C = Fridays, September 11, 2015 through November 13. 2015 - 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm
LCCC = Saturdays, September 12, 2015, through November 14, 2015 - 2:00pm to 6:00 pm.
3 Credit Hours

--- Syllabus ---               

FIRST ASSIGNMENT DUE THE FIRST CLASS: Prologue to Enrique’s Journey -  Chapter One through Four.
                    Prepare for a written take-home quiz on this material to be issued the first day of class.

Session One
TRI-C  Friday, September 11
LCCC Saturday, September 12

           A.  We are all children of some one crossing borders. Introduction of class members Name, home, major, country of origin. (Where did your
                 relatives come from?) (What is your ethnicity?)
           B.  Introduction of Professor - Roger Cram and Carol Donley
           C. Class procedures, breaks, grading, plagiarism, website syllabus, etc. -
Introduction; historical context; current political, social, economic situation -
           E.  Group discussions about assignments
                    Discussion of the first assignment - Enrique’s Journey and Chapter One through Four
                    Discussion questions for Enrique’s Journey, Prologue
           F.  See the film, "Dying to Get In"
           G.  PowerPoint presentation "The Beast"
           I.    Class discussion on assigned material.

                    Prologue: Possible discussion and quiz-question areas
                    1. How does Carmen’s story affect Sonia Nazario?
                    2. What does she do about it?
                    3. What about typical American working mothers appalls Carmen? Why?
                    4. Thousands of migrants coming across the Mexican-American border are children travelling without adults. Their journey
                    often takes several months and is full of dangers. What are the pressures that make the children make that journey?
                    5. Nazario says that no amount of border barriers will stop this stream of children from coming to the U.S. She says that    
                    problem “can only be addressed at its source” (xxv). What does she mean? Can you think of ways to address this    
                    problem in the home countries?
                    Chapter One:
                    1. What were Enrique’s problems at home in Honduras? Why could he not cope with them there?
                    Chapter Two:
  2. Describe some of Enrique's experiences as he made seven attempts to get to the United States.
                    Chapter Three:
Describe the "Beast", what is it, the dangers involved, the helpers along the way, and the cartel's involvement?
Describe the work of Olga Sanchez Martinez
                    Chapter Four:
Why was Enrique successful on his seventh attempt to reach the United States? What occurred in Vera Cruz that helped his success?
                    How many narrow escapes did Enrique encounter on his seventh trip?  Describe them? Describe the church leadership in Vera Cruz.
                    How do they stand up to the police?   
                    Describe the work of Olga Sanchez Martinez
                    Describe the “friendly people” of Oaxaca and Vera Cruz.
                    How do they differ from the people in Chiapas?
                    How does help for the migrants divide the church?

Assignments for and due the second class:
  Read the rest of Enrique's Journey. Be prepared for a class discussion on this material

Session Two
          TRI-C  Friday, September 25
           LCCC Saturday, September 26

             A. Form groups to discuss the rest of  Enrique’s Journey.
                       Chapter Five:
1. Discuss the new problems Enrique encounters upon arriving at the United States border.
                       Chapter Six:
2. After Lourdes makes his way to North Carolina, describe several problems that arise            
                           between Enrique and his mother.
                       Chapter Seven:
1. What did Maria Isabel decide to do about her daughter, Jasmine?
                       2. Describe the reunion of Belky and her mother. What did Belky decide to do about her baby?
                       The Afterward: 
1. Describe Sonia Nazario's research behind writing this book. How long did it take her?
                                                 Where did she go? Whom did the interview?
    B.  Class Discussion on the rest of Enrique's Journey and presented material as above
     C.. The Film, Border Patrol - 50 minutes                         
                       D. PowerPoint presentation - Law Enforcement Search and Seizure - the Fourth Amendment
                       E. Oral Game in class on the Mexican-American Border the border states and major paired cities -
F.  PowerPoint - The United States history of immigration.
                       G. Take-home quiz issued. Due next class.

Assignments for and due the third class:
   1. Select readings from Border Crosser
                                    Border Crosser: Tecate Line, page 29; Narco Corridor, pages 31-40; Prisoner of Patriot's Point, pages 41-63
                                    Amnesty Trail, page 97; Body a Day, pages 99-108; Fine and Dandy Border Security Apparatus, pages 109-116;
                                    Angry Car Dealer, pages 126-136; Another Body in the River, 148-203
   2. Select readings from The Devil's Highway
   Pages 1-40, 54-65, and 179-220
    3. Do take-home quiz and turn in next class.

          Session Three
          TRI-C  Friday, October 9
           LCCC Saturday, October 10


                       A. Turn in take-home quiz issued last week
                       B. Form groups to discuss reading assignments due today:
                    1. Select readings from Border Crosser
                                    Border Crosser: Tecate Line, page 29; Narco Corridor, pages 31-40; Prisoner of Patriot's Point, pages 41-63
                                    Amnesty Trail, page 97; Body a Day, pages 99-108; Fine and Dandy Border Security Apparatus, pages 109-116;
                                    Angry Car Dealer, pages 126-136; Another Body in the River, 148-203
   2. Select readings from The Devil's Highway
   Pages 1-40, 54-65, and 179-220
 C. Class Discussion on the reading on Border Crosser and the Devil's Highway as above
                        D. PowerPoint on Border Line Poetry and Drawings - See the top of this syllabus for a link.
                        E. Video 2501 Migrants: A Journey
  F. PowerPoint, Mocking the Border Fence and Children Immigrants Traveling Alone
        G. Get into groups to discuss presentations
  F. Take-home quiz issued

Assignments for and due the fourth class:

 1. Read "Sur," the first section of Into the Beautiful North, pages 3-163
                        2. Complete quiz for week three and bring it with you to the next class.

            Session Four
            TRI-C - October 23
            LCCC - October 24

                       A. Turn in take-home quiz issued last week
                       B.  Lecture: A Comparison/Contrast Between Fiction and Non-Fiction
                       C. Form groups to discuss reading assignments due today:"Sur," the first section of Into the Beautiful North, pages 3-163
   D. Class Discussion on the reading Into the Beautiful North, pages 3-163
                       E. Documentary—“The Other Side of Immigration” (55 minutes)
                       F. Presentation on Drugs, Tunnels, and the Cartels
                       G. Take-home quiz issued, due next class.

Assignments for and due the fifth class: ONLY ONE WEEK APART FROM THIS CLASS - NOT TWO WEEKS

1. Read the Chapter "Norte" from Into the Beautiful North Pages 167-230
2. Complete quiz for week four and bring it with you to the next class.

     Session Five
     TRI-C - October 30
      LCCC - October 31

A. Turn in take-home quiz issued last week
B. Form groups to discuss reading assignments due today: Read the Chapter "Norte" from Into the Beautiful North Pages 167-230
C. Class discussion on "Norte" from Into the Beautiful North Pages 167-230
D. The video  "Innocent Voices" (152 Minutes)
E. Discuss "Innocent Voices"
F. Get into groups to discuss presentations
G. Class presentations start
H. Issue the Final Exam - due by midnight on November 21. Sent to Carol Donley by email to or by U.S. Postal Service at
     P.O. Box 903 Hiram, Ohio 44234

 Assignments for and due the sixth class:

1. Read the rest of Into the Beautiful North pages 231 to 338
          2. Be prepared for your class presentations (This material will be part of your final exam)

Session Six
TRI-C - November 13
 LCCC - November 14


A. Class presentations continued
B. The video "Wetback"

Reference Index of Material

Class Presentations:

                 A. Twenty-minute presentations. May use PowerPoint, YouTube, handouts, or other media. Please be prepared so it does not take too much time getting your presentation ready to present. All presentations must include documentation giving the sources of the material. A paper should be turned into the professors indicating what each group member did for the presentation, a copy of the documentation, a copy of any PowerPoint, and a general outline of the verbal portion.

Written papers and tests:

                B.  All quizzes, final exams, essays, etc. are to be printed and stapled together. The first page must contain your name, the name of the course, the date, and the title of the assignment.  Quizzes are to be labeled Quiz One, Quiz Two, etc. The final exam is to be labeled Final Exam.  Your name must appear on every page and the pages are to be numbered.  Quizzes are to be turned in at class; they are not to be emailed.


A.  Final take-home exam essay questions handed out.
                        Write the course title, your name, the date and the words FINAL EXAM on the top of the first page of your test.  Due next class.

B. Form groups for class discussions about the assignment for "Border Crosser"  from last week's handout.
                        15  minutes.
                        C. In groups discuss "More Children Crossing U.S. - Mexico Border Alone" Wednesday May 21, 2014

    D. US Borders Swamped by Child Migrants  Go to:  Be prepared to
                        discuss in class.
   E. Oral Quiz 3 on the reading and class presentations (Search and Seizure)
                        F. Documentary: “2501 Migrants: A Journey” (57 minutes)
                        G. Presentation on Immigration Heroes
                        H. Read the New York Times article: Border Center Struggles to Handle Onslaught of Children Crossers



Read the handouts on the text "Border Crosser." These will be passed out in tonight.
Read from "More Children Crossing U.S. - Mexico Border Alone" Wednesday May 21, 2014

Practice Map Test: 



I. Course Description 

            Economic and political controversy besieges the Mexican-American border. Arguments against immigration range from keeping out “unwanted aliens” to fighting a billion dollar drug trafficking business.  Arguments in favor speak of social justice and economic benefits. In this course we will try to understand the forces creating these problems.  That will depend in part in listening to the people’s stories, discovering where they are coming from and what they want to accomplish.  We will study the perspectives of the Border Patrol, the immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries, the U.S. residents close to the border, the U.S. businesses using immigrant labor and/or moving to Mexico to get cheaper labor, the drug runners and the Mexican drug wars, the politicians who try to reduce the complexities to “sound bites.” We will learn to discern the ethical issues, including questions of discrimination and racism. We will also look at the social, political and economic issues, including those of power and money.

II.   Goals and Objectives:

What will the student learn?

      1.      Several different perspectives on these border issues, including poverty, economics, racism, politics, drugs, ethics, etc.
      Different cultural roles and expectations that contribute to the issues
      How to recognize an ethical issue and address it

What new understandings will be developed?

      1.      Issues are more complex and multifaceted than they may seem
      Sometimes there are no clear right and wrong answers
      How to walk in the shoes of someone very different

What attitudes will change?

       1.      Increase of tolerance for difference and for ambiguity; more compassion and less hasty judgment

            The course will help students learn and think in interdisciplinary way
             It connects with Hiram’s mission of graduating ethical and socially responsible citizens

III.   Course Expectations:

1.      Texts and other readings:   

Enrique’s Journey by Nazario
The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea
Into The Beautiful North - Luis Alberto Urrea
Border Crosser by Johnny Rico given in class

2.      Documentaries:

The Other Side of Immigration
Border Patrol: America’s Gatekeepers
Dying to Get In
2501 Migrants: A Journey
And several power point presentations

      3.  5 take-home quizzes on the reading and presentations; student or group presentation, and final paper.
      4.  Attendance is mandatory as is participation in class discussions
      5.  This course asks you to consider complicated issues occurring right now, so you will need to pay attention to news reports, both printed and electronic. Be
           sure you document your sources, so others can get to that information too. Put anything you copy into quotes and tell us where you got it.

IV.   First Assignment: Read the Prologue and the first four chapters of Enrique's Journey. Be prepared for a quiz on this material in the first class.

V. Student Assignments and Presentations

Each student may select a topic from the list presented below. Each student may select a pertinent subject other than those listed below, but must obtain permission from a professor before the assignment is started. Any documented material from a reliable source may be used to gather information about the individual presentation. Each student will make a presentation to the class. These presentations will be a minimum of 15 minutes and a maximum of 20 minutes in length. Each student will be given an additional 10 minutes for class Q&A.

A written report of the presentation or speech must be turned in by each student to serve as a reference for the instructors grading the presentation. There is no required length for this written report, but is should accurately cover the material presented and include a list of references.


                                                                                                 Individual Student  Presentation Topics

See above, V. Student Assignments and Presentations, for a description of guidelines for these presentations.  Be sure you document all your sources. Turn in a written summary of your presentation (not just a Xerox of your power point).  Be prepared to present for about 20 minutes with five minutes or so allowed for questioning.

A. Art, literature, music—commentary on border problems. Give examples of these expressions and explain   how they work  (raise people’s awareness of the problems, suggest ways to fix them, take political stands, etc). Corridos.  

B. Arizona immigration laws and conflict with federal laws.
  The shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the context of the border turmoils.  Politics, unsupported claims, huge budget deficits for the state.  The role of Maricopa Co. Sheriff Joe Arpario. Gov. Jan Brewer.      

C. Corruption of police and government officials in both countries—specific examples of each.  This is a special topic associated with the drug wars, since the bribers are the cartels. North of Border:          

D. Drug smuggling from Mexico to the U.S.—the main buyer of the drugs.  Cartels and the drug wars in Mexico. Los Zetas, Sinaloa Federation, BLO (Beltran Leyva Organization), VCFO, LFM (La Familia Michocana), Gulf, etc.  Look up some of the leaders, such as “El Chapo” and the Beltran Leyvas.  Get facts on the money and power involved. Also kidnapping, human trafficking.          

E. Mexican cartels operating in the U.S., distributing drugs across the country, managing marijuana farms and meth labs, buying guns and getting them into Mexico.       

F.  The capture and recent escape of El Chapo and the current political situation in Mexico that contributed to the escape.

G. Sex trafficking across the Mexican-American Border

H. Women and children from Central America currently housed in United States detention centers - circumstances, conditions, legal options.

I. Political “sound bites” and massive misinformation about the real conditions.  Some U.S. businesses are making big profits off the mess, such as the private businesses that run most of the prisons housing illegal aliens.  See GEO Group and CCA (Correction Corporation of America)

J. Texas (the “can do” state) claims that the Federal Government is not doing anything, so Texas patrols its own border with Mexico.  But it uses DHS funds to support its Operation Border Star and  Operation Linebacker and pay the Texas Border Sheriffs’ Coalition (TBSC). It also depends on the Border Patrol which is federal. Gov. Rick Perry supports the TBSC and Operation Border Star. 

K. Economic forces driving the border problems, from extreme poverty in central America and search for  work in the U.S. to American companies moving south of the border in order to avoid unions, taxes and environmental rules.  Give specific examples.  Discuss NAFTA pros and cons. Maquiladoras.  Remittances from those working in the U.S. provide Mexico’s second largest income.  Immigrants in the U.S. pay more in taxes than they use.

L. Environmental concerns along the border.  These include abuse of the land, especially in fragile deserts, water depletion and pollution, mining wastes, oil drilling problems.  See IBWC—international boundary and water commission and BECC—border environmental cooperation commission

M. Historic factors contributing to today’s border problems including the Mexican-American war, the Mexican civil war and the huge impact of 9/11
N. NAFTA - Has it helped the United States? Has it helped Mexico'd economy?

O. The Pope's visit to United States in September of 2015, what did he say about latino immigration?  Who did he blame?

            VI. Assessment and Evaluation:

1.     Assessment of students learning

1. 40% - 8% each -
There will be five takehome tests, one issued in each class session, from the reading in the texts and other presented or assigned material. Each take-home test is due the following class.
25% - Take-home final exam given over weekend
3. 20% -  Class presentation
4. 10% -  Class participation
5. 5% -    Attenance