Students protest Border Patrol’s possible campus visit

By Luisa Sausedo and Mike Madriaga

The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CPB) did not participate in a campus job fair on Thursday, apparently after City College’s administration cancelled its invitation to do so after a Chicano group announced that it would protest the agency’s presence at school.

Approximately 30 people organized by M.E.Ch.A. (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlán) gathered around noon in the AH Quad to protest CBP being invited to participate in the fair.

Enrique Davalos, the Department Chair for Chicano and Chicana Studies at City College, said protesters were aware that the invitation to CBP had been cancelled. However, they still wanted to make a statement to have their voice was heard.

“This campus is a Hispanic-serving institution. Some 40 percent of the students here are Latino and Latinas, so there is no room for having this kind of event,” Davalos said.

He explained that there were a number of reasons for the protest, including the National Border Patrol Council’s endorsement for presidential candidate Donald Trump on March 30.

“The Border Patrol union endorsed Donald Trump as their candidate for the presidency and we believe that the hate speech that these guys are promoting does not have room on this campus,” said Davalos.

This protest also called attention to past events of alleged CBP brutality involving the death of San Diego resident Anastasio Hernández, who died in the custody of CBP officers in May of 2010.

M.E.Ch.A. encouraged students and others to write the names of friends and family members who had been involved with what they termed “CBP brutality” either recently or in the past with a piece of chalk on the concrete to make students aware of these issues. A total of 12 names were written on the floor by a number of students and M.E.Ch.A. club members.

As the rally continued, protesters began to chant out, “We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us!”, and had signs posted among the quad reading, “Undocumented and unafraid!”.

“This is a border city,” explained a Chicano Studies professor Rosi Angela Escamilla. “Having the Border Patrol being invited, the very force that has terrorized and torn their families apart, we find it completely insensitive and not really caring for the safety and the reality of our students at City College,” she said.

Many City College students have been separated because of deportations, she added.

Amongst the crowd were also students who felt that the City College administration made an unfair move by not allowing the CBP to participate at the career fair.

“They’re not saying the whole story. They’re just saying that a whole bunch of people were killed by the Border Patrol,” said Will Garcia, a photography student. “The Border Patrol has as much right to be here and try to recruit people as they do to be here and protest their presence.”

The protesters stayed in the area for about an hour before the career fair started to wrap up. Businesses such as Panda Express, Marriott, SeaWorld, the U.S. Army, and the San Diego Police department, among others, were represented at the career fair while the protest took place.