Rio Grande Valley Border Tour

Hosted by the Center for Immigration Studies


The Center for Immigration Studies will host a border tour in the Rio Grande Valley in late April. These trips provide an invaluable look at enforcement efforts and the immigration issue more broadly.

At the southernmost tip of Texas, the Valley is a 4,872 square mile semi-tropical flood plain that sits on the northern bank of the Rio Grande, flanked by the Gulf of Mexico to the east and Mexico to the south and west. It is an area rich in intrigue. With a long history of smuggling, the region is now the epicenter for illegal crossings, creating upheaval throughout the region and beyond. We will see the struggles of securing this part of the border firsthand as we get many perspectives on the issue.

Led by Pulitzer-prize-winning author Jerry Kammer, who has organized nine previous Center tours spanning nearly the entire southwest border and part of our northern border with Canada, we will explore the region from Roma to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way we will visit with Border Patrol, local law enforcement, farmers, residents, politicians, and activists.
We will learn about the current crisis in the context of the region’s history and culture. We will also see the varied geography of the Valley, including the rich farmland, the many small peninsulas that jut into Mexico and shape maps of the borderlands like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, and the beaches along the Gulf of Mexico.
For more information on the tour, please contact John Wahala at [email protected]

Read Accounts and View Pictures of Past Tours

Dysfunction on the Border: Report from West Texas and New Mexico

A Growing Border Crisis: A report from Arizona

Unrest in the Rio Grande Valley

Diligence on a Changing Canadian Border

Constant Activity on the California Border

Holding Steady in West Texas

A Washington Narrative Meets Reality

Sunshine, Saguaros, and Smugglers

Reflections from the Border

Border Tour Videos

2021 Border Tour Videos

2019 Border Tour Videos

2018 Border Tour Videos

Testimonials from Past Guests

"The trip is like doing a Rhodes Scholarship on steroids." -- Loras

"All I can say is top notch, incredibly well-done. These tours are can't miss." -- Jim 

"These tours are intense and joyous adventures packed with knowledge, uncommon scenery, and ebullient mealtimes. The work done in preparation is awe-making. The folks at CIS take care of every detail, enhancing the roster of learning and experiencing with piquant extras. I, inveterate traveler, feel safe, confident, and dazzled from start to finish." -- Marion 

“The trip was amazingly well managed. Those planning it arranged for us to see the border from so many different points of view -- U.S. side and Mexican side, urban and open country, two very different legal crossing points, the variety of ways the border can be breached, the nature of the two sides of the border in many different types of locales. We met with many interesting people working on both border and immigration issues. Excellent speakers gave us background history and current issues and problems. Intimate discussions with articulate Border Control Patrol agents and some of the people they interact with from other agencies.”  -- Norman

"You promised we would not get the usual Border Patrol spin job or fed the Janet Napolitano line about how border security has improved, and you were right. We heard and saw at many dangerous border sites from local ranchers, a veteran customs agent, border residents and brave journalists who really knew their stuff, the dismal truth about how our federal government has failed to protect American citizens." -- Don 

"We thought the arrangements to meet these extraordinary people were superb, as was the guidance and logistics on the entire trip. Thanks for all you did to make our visits such memorable experiences." -- Don 

"It was an outstanding trip. So much experience and information packed into just a few days. Thanks for the excellent arrangements!" -- Sarah 

"The various people we met brought into stark relief the magnitude of the problems the nation faces arising from illegal immigration." -- Allan 

"Every American should come see the state of the southwest border." -- Linda