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Letter From the Director
White House Fellows Join Nation In Celebrating the Life of John W. Gardner
President Announces New Commissioners
Colonias Domestic Study Policy Trip
2001-2002 Class Enthusiastically Embraces Community Service
WHF Alumni Visit Vietnam
Where are They Now?

Colonias Domestic Study Policy Trip

In February, the 2001-2002 White House Fellows class embarked on a domestic policy study trip to the borders shared by Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. There, Fellows met with state and local policy makers, Mexican officials, colonia residents and businessmen to study the socio-economic factors affecting colonias and their neighboring cities. In preparation for their trip, Fellows were also briefed on legislative issues specifically addressing colonias by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX), Congressman Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), and Ana Maria Farias, Senior Counselor to HUD Secretary Mel Martinez.

The White House Fellows kicked off their first full day in Texas with an escorted tour of three colonias. They were accompanied by HUD and Fannie Mae representatives who outlined the complex factors fueling colonia growth and the challenges faced by colonia residents as a result of having limited access to critical infrastructure and potable water. After the tour, Fellows participated in a meeting hosted by the El Paso Colonia Coalition, a group of local non-profit organizations that work with state agencies to improve sub-standard living standards in colonias.

That afternoon, the Fellows journeyed into Juarez, Mexico, where they toured the non-profit Hospital de la Familia and spoke with its founders, who offered an overview of the numerous health services their hospital provides to low-income residents. Fellows returned to El Paso after an authentic Mexican meal at the home of the hospital’s founder, Guadalupe Arizpe De La Vega.

The next day of their trip began with a tour of New Mexico’s colonias and a meeting with the state’s Congressional Delegation. Fellows visited two business establishments in the San Pablo colonia, then headed back to El Paso for a reality briefing and live demonstration by the U.S. Customs Services at the Bridge of the Americas. There they observed agents conducting automobile inspections and toured operational facilities. An evening visit with the U.S. Border Patrol took the Fellows through a station processing tour, a live demonstration with Patrol agents along El Paso’s border, and a hold-the-line strategy briefing.

On their last day in El Paso, Fellows met with Mayor Raymond Caballero to discuss the city’s unofficial policies on colonias and the challenges that come with being a border community. Their trip concluded at Fort Bliss with a briefing on Joint Task Force 6 (JTF-6), which synchronizes and integrates Department of Defense operational and intelligence supports with domestic law enforcement agency counter-drug efforts to reduce the influx of illegal drugs in America.

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