In partnership with the ACLU of Texas, Texas Impact staff are leading teams of clergy and laity to the Rio Grande Valley to monitor federal criminal and immigration court proceedings and border enforcement activities on the international bridges. Participants receive training from ACLU staff and create reports that become part of the national record of this chapter in U.S. immigration.
Through their presence in court and at the border, participants stand in solidarity with migrants … and experts say the presence of faith-based observers in court has clear impact on the treatment defendants receive.
Each trip lasts from Sunday evening to Wednesday morning. Participants are responsible for getting themselves to the Valley by 6 p.m. Sunday, and they are responsible for their own travel and accommodation costs. Texas Impact coordinates the hotel rooms and may be able to offer limited scholarships on a case-by-case basis.
Courts & Ports is open to Texans and non-Texans. Participants must be at least 18 years old and must have documentation (typically a passport) authorizing them to travel freely between the United States and Mexico.
Each trip is capped at eight participants. Each participant spends one block of time in court, one block at a bridge and one block at a transitional shelter for asylum seekers interacting with the guests. In addition, there are blocks of time for group discussion/processing, worship, shared meals and conversations with local faith and advocacy leaders.