Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas

CLP Current Event: February 26, 2019

“Paso a paso se llega lejos. Step by step you can go a long way!” Learn about the relationship between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez in this week’s CLP Current Event.

Brought to teachers by Susie Marcus, CLP consultant, with CLP staff.

News Sources

Border agents install razor wire at El Paso bridges, by Associated Press, Fox News, February 23, 2019
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it’s installing coils of razor wire at Texas ports of entry across from Juarez, Mexico, where large groups of migrants wait to seek asylum. The agency released photos of long coils of concertina wire installed on movable barriers in El Paso. Soldiers and CBP agents deployed to the border have installed the wire at or near various entry ports.”

Protesters Take Over El Paso Border Patrol Museum, by Benjamin Fearnow, Newsweek, February 21, 2019
“The group placed adhesive stickers showing a photograph of Guatemalan girl Jakelin Caal Maquin and 8-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonzo, who both died while in U.S. custody last year. Facebook photos posted by Tornillo: The Occupation show several stickers were placed over the faces of agents who died in the line of duty.”

Albany teacher finds national protest in El Paso inspirational – but heartbreaking, by Sylvia Saunders, New York State United Teachers, February 20, 2019
“The event, organized by National Teacher of the Year Mandy Manning, was both a protest and an educational event — with teachers sharing lessons on the history of U.S. immigration and poignant letters written by immigrant students. Manning, who teaches newly arrived refugee and immigrant students in the state of Washington, said it’s crucial for educators to help people understand that the country’s shameful treatment of immigrant children is ‘a huge human rights violation.’”

A New Migrant Processing Center Is Being Built In El Paso, by Rhonda Fanning, Texas Standard, February 18, 2019
“’For years we’ve heard complaints about what migrants refer to as ‘ICE boxes’ on the border,’ Moore says. ‘These are small holding cells that were designed for single Mexican men to be held real briefly, [whereas] families crossing from Central America have been held for a week or more.’ These small, concrete cells in older detention centers are known for being very cold. Also, they don’t serve the current migrant population well.”

Teacher of the Year Mandy Manning Leading El Paso ‘Teach-In’ This Weekend, Protesting Trump Administration’s Child Detention Policies, by Mark Keierleber, The 74 Million, February 13, 2019
“For Manning, the idea to protest child detention began on a Teacher of the Year trip to Texas. While there, she realized she was close to the ‘tent city’ in Tornillo, a temporary ‘influx shelter that at one point housed some 2,800 children. Flustered because she was unable to visit the camp during her trip, she hit upon the idea to rally teachers to hold a vigil outside the facility.”

El Paso mayor: ‘We’re not a lawless community’, by Portia Baudisch and Jamel Valencia, KFOX14, February 12, 2019
“El Paso is growing, but data shows that the crime rate did not dramatically drop when the wall was built. Margo admits the wall had an impact on certain types of nonviolent crimes.”

Trump’s El Paso Rally, And The Counter-Rally, Represent A ‘Microcosm’ Of The National Immigration Debate, by Rhonda Fanning and Jill Ament, Texas Standard, February 11, 2019
“He says he doesn’t expect any violence or incivility during the rallies, but that both groups will represent a ‘microcosm’ of the larger, national debate about immigration. Also, he says the counter-rally will bring attention to the perspective of people who live at the border – a perspective sometimes overlooked by those in Washington.”

One border crisis averted? How Juarez and El Paso became sister cities, by Henry Gass, Christian Science Monitor, January 4, 2019
“Aquifers are difficult to manage even in the best of circumstances – they can stretch for thousands of miles, sink for thousands of feet, and they’re entirely underground. When you’re measuring something that crosses an international border it becomes even more difficult. Predicting how much it could hold in the future more difficult still, which is the main thing officials in El Paso and Juárez have been trying to do since they began working together in the mid-1980s.”

Questions to Consider

  • Where is El Paso? Where is Ciudad Juarez? What is their connection to each other?
  • What is “asylum”? Where are immigrants requesting asylum processed?
  • What is the significance of the choice of El Paso for a Presidential rally? What is the significance of a Beto O’Rourke speech in El Paso?
  • What is the history of El Paso?
  • Is El Paso’s location on the border between the United States and Mexico significant?Does El Paso’s “front seat” for immigration issues highlight the complications of United States’ policy?
  • Why did teachers, including several Teachers of the Year, choose El Paso to protest the treatment of migrant children, especially childhood detention?
  • What does the history of El Paso tell us about borders?
  • What does the history of El Paso tell us about immigration?
  • What does the history of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez tell us about sharing water rights?
  • How might a wall affect life in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez?
  • Is water a human right? How do Ciudad Juarez and El Paso share water?
  • Why are the people of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez a “family”?
  • What is the role of the Border Patrol?
  • El Paso means a step, what is it a step toward?

Background and More

FactChecking Trump’s El Paso Rally, by Lori Robertson, D’Angelo Gore, Robert Farley, and Eugene Kiely,, February 14, 2019

ICE Continues To Release Asylum-Seekers At Public Park In El Paso, by Vanessa Romo and Monica Ortiz Uribe, NPR, December 25, 2018

Cross-border life in Juarez, El Paso: Work, family – an long waits, by Patrick Timmons, UPI, October 24, 2018

How the Rio Grande came to separate the U.S. and Mexico, by Kathy Velikov and Geoffrey Thun, The Architect’s Newpaper, July 31, 2018

The future of the US-Mexico border: inside the ‘split-city’ of El Paso-Juarez, by Sophie Eastaugh, The Guardian, January 25, 2017

Lesson Plans

Teaching Geography: Workshop 1 (Part 1 El Paso and Ciudad Juarez), Annenberg Learner
CLP: Middle & high school

Exploring Refugees and Asylum Seekers, AFS-USA
CLP: High school

Lesson Plan: Using the Military at the U.S.-Mexican Border, POV, July 8, 2008
CLP: Listed as grades 6-12; film contains some profanity

Constitutional and Legal Connections

Asylum Law and Procedure, Human Rights First
CLP: Clear explanation of how a person qualifies as a refugee and for asylum.

Do You Care About the Rule of Law? Then Act Like It, by Sonia Nazario, The New York Times, July 11, 2018
CLP: Opinion

Asylum in the United States, American Immigration Council, May 18, 2018
CLP: Another clear explanation of asylum process and helpful charts

Oregon Connections

None this week.

Oregon State Social Science Standards

8.8 Evaluate information from a variety of sources and perspectives.
8.11 Identify and describe patterns and networks of economic interdependence, migration, and settlement.
8.12 Investigate how differing geographic perspectives apply to issues in U.S History.
8.17 Examine the development activities of political parties and interest groups and their effects on events, issues, and ideas.
8.21 Analyze important political and ethical values such as freedom, democracy, equality and justice embodied in documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
8.26 Examine a controversial event, issue, or problem from more than one perspective.
HS.18 Analyze the impact of human migration on physical and human systems (e.g., urbanization, immigration, urban to rural).
HS.19 Evaluate how differing points of view, self-interest, and global distribution of natural resources play a role in conflict over territory.
HS.20 Analyze the impact on physical and human systems of resource development, use, and management and evaluate the issues of sustainability.
HS.28 Evaluate how governments interact at the local, state, tribal, national, and global levels.
HS.27 Examine functions and process of United States government.
HS.31 Describe United States foreign policy and evaluate its impact on the United States and other countries.
HS.33 Explain the role of government in various current events.
HS.35 Examine the pluralistic realities of society (e.g., race, poverty, gender and age), recognizing issues of equity, and evaluating need for change.
HS.59 Demonstrate the skills and dispositions needed to be a critical consumer of information.
HS.60. Analyze an event, issue, problem, or phenomenon from varied or opposing perspectives or points of view.

We the People Lesson Connections

Middle School, Level 2

  • Unit 6: What are the responsibilities of citizens?

High School, Level 3

  • Unit 6: What challenges might face American constitutional democracy in the Twenty-first Century?