Arkansas Immigrants Head to Arizona to Help with Border Crisis

Springdale -- Dozens of Arkansas immigrants and community volunteers boarded a bus to Arizona Wednesday to see the border crisis first hand.

The trip is part of Arkansas United Community Coalition's "Change Agents" leadership program, and the group will learn from immigration reform activists working on the front lines.

"We want to see what's happening on the ground," says AUCC Executive Director Mireya Reith. "We want to bring those lessons learned back here to Arkansas, so that we have a real chance at trying to do something that is honest, and sincere, and with integrity for the families that are really refugee families facing a humanitarian crisis."

Reith says sending the kids back to Central America could put their lives at risk, but it will definitely limit their futures.

"The family structure, the economic structure is completely destroyed there," she says. "It's situations where they have no chance at achieving a fuller potential... It's important to hear the stories, see the people in person, get to experience it as really a fuller way of understanding what is the task at hand and how we can do it best."

Alan Rodriguez was born in Mexico, but calls Fayetteville home.

"I was a childhood arrival," he says. "I'm documented, proudly documented... When I came here I was less than a year old, so Fayetteville is my community."

Rodriguez and his brother are making the trip, and he hopes his experience will guide his efforts make sure the children get the same chance he was given

"To think that these kids aren't having that opportunity as well, you know, it's sort of a bummer," he says. "It's something that I definitely, definitely want to help out with."

The group includes 43 agents from Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Little Rock, Bryant, Hermitage, Monticello, and McGehee. They return Sunday.

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