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College students take trip to U.S.-Mexico border

Posted at 5:43 PM, Jan 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-13 19:43:13-05

A group of students from the University of Notre Dame capped off a week-long trip on Friday, designed to teach them about the United States-Mexico border. 

The day's events included a presentation about the borderlands by representatives of the Sierra Club and a walk along the fence with a local rancher. Many of the students, seeing the international boundary for the very first time.

Rancher Tony Sedgwick has lived on and around the border for many years, and he shared his experiences of living on the border with the students. However, he explained there are many different perspectives and opinions on the issues the border faces, and acknowledged to the students that is okay.

"Conversation, and dialogue, and conflicting views is what causes us to grow," Sedgwick said. "What matters is that they make the decision. Whatever decision, they make it."

A variety of reactions from the students on the trip -- some of whom there for the first time. 

"Shocked, and kind of upset because you see this beautiful landscape," Grace Goins said. "The wall is so out of place."

Another student with an emotional reaction -- for different reasons -- Aniela Tyksinski.

"I think it's incredible to see the physical embodiment of what's causing so much anxiety and so much pain for so many people."

However, another student -- Cesar Estrada -- has a bit of a different feeling when he saw the border fence.

"It brought back a lot of memories," he said. "I am an immigrant myself. I crossed when I was 8 years old."

Speaking to his classmates reactions, he said they ran the gamut, some of them saying things like, "there could be immigrants crossing right now."

"It's just like fear, and curiosity, and just the misunderstanding about how the border works," he said.
The goal of the experience, leave the students with the ability to form their own perspectives about the border.
President-elect Donald Trump says that construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall will begin immediately after he takes office a week from Friday.
Quoting Mr. Trump: "Mexico, in some form, will reimburse us -- whether it's a tax or whether it's a payment -- it will happen."
However, Mexico's president has insisted all along that they have no intention of paying for the wall.