Border Protection appearance at job fair met with student protest

Protesters motivated by safety concerns for undocumented students

Cory Kay, News Editor


The presence of U.S. Customs and Border Protection on April 7 at the job fair in the USU Ballroom prompted a student protest aimed at expressing safety concerns.

Among numerous organizations present at the job fair, U.S. Customs and Border Protection were looking to recruit students interested in joining their agency.

Their presence on campus, however, led students from Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA), Stand Together as oNe Dream (STAND), Border Angels and Danza Folklorica Tukwut to hold a protest.

Concerns were based upon worries over the safety of the undocumented student community at CSUSM.

“Cal State San Marcos argues that it’s an inclusive university, yet they bring [a group] that causes fear in the undocumented community,” said Julio Villa Chavez, an undocumented CSUSM student and STAND President. “They separate our families [and] it also affects our learning climate … when we see Border Patrol in what we thought was our safe space.”

Villa, a coordinator of the protest, explained that the presence of Border Protection went against campus values, and that the approval of their presence at the job fair was a primary concern.

“They tabled at MiraCosta College a couple weeks ago, and we didn’t think that our university was going to allow that to happen here, but … the job fair has to be coordinated by someone and has to have some person approve who tables and who doesn’t,” said Villa.

When the student protesters received word that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection was on campus, they prepared to voice their concerns quickly.

“It was probably like a 30-­minute process to get the posters, text everyone, call everyone and get the few people who were on campus together,” Villa said.

While a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent declined to comment in response to the protest, Jennifer Duffy, a Police Dispatch Recruiter for the San Diego Police Department who tabled alongside Border Protection, said “I understand freedom of speech and I totally support it, but this wasn’t really the place for it.”

The protest acted as a movement to increase awareness and support for the undocumented student community.

“More than anything, [we want] to bring light to the undocumented community who is, a lot of times, put at the very bottom,” said Villa.

Villa expressed hopes to come into contact with the Career Center, the organization in charge of coordinating the job fair, and mentioned the possibility of future protests regarding safety of the undocumented student community.