Lee University Professor & Students Visit Southern Border

Photo Credit: Lee University

Published July 12, 2021

The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –

Lee University Professor Arlie Tagayuna recently visited the southern border with a group of his students. The trip allowed the students and Dr. Tagayuna to get a first-hand look at the situation. The trip took place at the end of May and included 13 students, as well as another professor, Murl Dirksen. 

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“It’s very complex, and with that complexity also calls for a complex solution,” Dr. Tagayuna said. “It really breaks my heart the kind of trauma that these people had to endure or experience in their crossing.”

During the visit, the students went to Mexico three different times to help a local church build two outdoor showers. They took part in other community service projects as well. 

“We’re there to learn, to understand, and to listen. The migrant situation, it’s kind of dire and poor,” Dr. Tagayuna said. 

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Representative Chuck Fleishmann said implementing more common-sense policies could help with the crisis at the border. 

“We’ve got to deter rhetoric that we saw from Joe Biden basically saying, come on in, it’s going to be fine, you’re going to be okay,” Fleishmann said. 

According to Dr. Tagayuna, “Every administration has a different message of how we should treat people coming to our southern border, I think there’s mixed messages that somehow confuses people.” 

Fleishmann and Dr. Tagayuna said crime is an issue that affects the border on both sides. 

“A lot of people are running away from crime, from threats of their life in the places that they are in, in Central America,” Dr. Tagayuna said. 

“We’re seeing crime, we’re seeing things taken entirely in the wrong direction,” Fleishmann said. “It’s a detriment to states like Texas that are on the border. But it’s also a detriment right now to states like Tennessee.”

A new approach could help the situation, according to Dr. Tagayuna. He said it falls to those on the other side of the border. 

“If we do not address this issue then this phenomenon of caravans of migrants coming into our country is not going to stop,” Dr. Tagayuna said. 

Over the weekend, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee took a trip to the southern border in order to visit the Tennessee National Guard who are stationed there. Lee’s trip allowed him to see what was left to be done. 

“The men and women of the Tennessee National Guard are playing a significant role in quelling the most severe border crisis we’ve seen in 20 years,” Lee said on Twitter before departing for his visit. “I want to personally commend the more than 300 Tennesseans who are serving our country and on the front lines of this crisis.”

The 300 National Guard members are part of three units that are stationed across the border in Texas to support Customs and Border Protection. The three units are the 269th Military Police Company, 913th Engineer Company, and 2-151 Aviation Battalion. 

Dr. Tagayuna said they are seeking additional funding and grants to be able to take more trips to the border. There are plans for them to help build a library and computer center. 

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About the Author:

Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative 

Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career.  Most recently, he served as Deputy Directory for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others.  He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History.  Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com

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