All posts by Barbara Weitz

Prof. Weitz taught at Florida International University for 32 years and was Director of the FIU Film Studies Program and Director of the FIU Study Abroad Program to the Czech Republic, where she attended the Karlovy Vary Film Festival every year for 30 years. She has been a screener, education coordinator, programmer, and jury member for the Miami International Film Festival as well as Miami Jewish Film Festival as well as a jury member for the Brazilian Film Festival of Miami, GenArt Film Festival, NC School of the Arts RiverRun and has presented papers on film for many world-wide film conferences. Today she lives in Asheville and has been Asst. Director of the Asheville Film Festival, Artistic Director of the monthly Israeli Film Series, and a film instructor at OLLI at UNCAsheville.

At the El Paso/Juarez Border – by Dr. Barbara Weitz

I got back late Saturday night and, I have to say,  I’m even more frustrated, disheartened and angry than I was before I went.   As I learned instantly from organizations working at the border that first day:  with the restrictive government policies in place right now, there’s not much we can do legally (or illegally).

the borderI was under the impression that I’d be working at the shelters and detention centers, doing anything that needed to be done—working with these people who are desperately trying to claim Political Asylum ; doing anything to help them wile away the hours and days they spend there,  possibly, teaching them some English or geography or anything else that interests them.  I was even ready to help with folding towels or serving meals.  However  the organization I was working with had the volunteers (there were 6 of us that week) spending all day interviewing as many immigrants who walked into CAIM (Mexico’s Center for Comprehensive Migrant Services).  Ironically, CAIM was situated in view of the International Bridge where they had been pushed back across into Juarez by Border Patrol due to the administration’s new MPP (Migrant Protection Protocols) more properly dubbed the “Remain in Mexico” policy.

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