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2019 Immigration Immersion Experience


August 10 – August 18, 2019

August 10-18, 2019
Tijuana, Mexico

This is a series of annual immigration immersion trips through a partnership between BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz and American Baptist International Ministries. The purpose of these trips is to bring faith and community leaders into a deeper understanding of the true stories behind the immigration debate in the US, focusing on real relationships and conversations with those whose lives are most impacted by US immigration policy and economic practices.

This trip and future ones will be led by Ray Schellinger, ABC’s International Ministry’s global consultant for Immigrants and Refugees, who has been leading trips such as these for the last 11 years.

“The impact of the trips has been profound for many the participants," observed Schellinger, "quite a few of whom have gone on to be very strong advocates for issues of immigration justice in the US and elsewhere.”

Participants will fly to San Diego, where they will meet up with Ray who will bring them across the border to Tijuana. The group will be hosted at Deborah’s House, a ministry for victims of domestic violence. The shelter will provide group members the opportunity to learn from and establish relationships with the women and children who reside there. This will help participants understand the economic and social difficulties that migrants face in a city of 2+ million people.

The trip will include visits with groups such as:

  • Border Angels- An advocacy group for immigrant rights
  • Dreamer Moms- An organization of deported mothers whose children remain in the US
  • Deported Vets- An organization providing support and legal aid for deported US veterans
  • Border Patrol- A tour given by the US Border patrol
  • US Customs- A tour given at the port of entry by the US Customs and Border Protection
  • Border Church- An ecumenical, binational, bilingual worship/communion service on the border at Friendship Park
  • Casa del Migrante- A Catholic ministry for immigrants, mostly deported men
  • Little Haiti- A new community of thousands of Haitian migrants whose journey to Tijuana will astound participants
  • Camino del Salvacion- A Baptist Church which is beginning a new shelter for migrants
  • A road trip to the east to see the border in the desert, as well as to see the prototype border wall sections, which Mexico has not yet paid for.
  • Meeting with a chaplain who works in the immigration detention facility in Mexicali.
  • Members of the Migrant Caravan

Schellinger says, “These relationships are integral to developing a sense of empathy with real people who are typical of those who cross into the US. We are essentially trying to help participants put a face to the statistics that get thrown around.”

The cost is $950 USD per person (includes meals, lodging, ground transportation, and a tour guide) plus round trip travel to San Diego. Participants are responsible for their airfare and one or two meals out. Limited scholarships are available. 

To Apply

Click here to apply online.Click here for a pdf version.

The Rev. Ray Schellinger began serving as ABC’s International Ministry’s global consultant for Immigrants and Refugees on July 1, 2017. In this role, he networks with IM colleagues and international partners that work with refugees and displaced peoples, helping to strengthen their ministries, find needed resources and build capacity. Schellinger works to construct bridges between US and Puerto Rican churches and IM’s global partners, providing opportunities to serve some of the most vulnerable people in the world. In addition, he hosts several volunteer teams per year in international cross-cultural settings where they learn about the struggles of migrants, the realities of global immigration and border policies. Ray and his wife, Adalia Gutiérrez Lee, were commissioned in 1994 to serve as missionaries in Nicaragua. The couple currently resides in Pennsylvania, where Gutiérrez Lee serves as IM area director for Iberoamerica and the Caribbean.

Contact Information

Allison Paksoy
[email protected]

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