Associated Students program to bring supplies to U.S.-Mexico border

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AICA chair and vice chair Elizabeth Jimenez Perez and Rick Piñon Delgado discuss their program's plan to bring supplies to members of the migrant caravan in Tijuana.
Association for InterCultural Awareness chair and vice chair Elizabeth Jimenez Perez and Rick Piñon Delgado discussed their plan to bring supplies to members of the migrant caravan at the board of directors meeting. (Diane Ortiz / Daily Titan)

Cal State Fullerton’s Association for InterCultural Awareness announced plans to drive to the border city of Tijuana, Mexico to deliver donations to people in the migrant caravan on Dec. 15 at Tuesday’s board of directors meeting.

In mid-October, thousands of Central Americans traveled up to the U.S.-Mexico border, arriving at the end of November. Many of them said they were escaping danger and poverty in their home countries. After about 500 migrants rushed the port of entry, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency fired tear gas at the migrants and shut down the border.

Following the march, many migrants decided to go back to their home countries, but as many as 5,000 migrants decided to stay in a sports complex in Tijuana while awaiting asylum.

However, the sports complex was closed on Saturday, according to the Washington Post, leaving many with the choice to either travel further away from their chance of asylum or camp out in the streets of Mexico.

Elizabeth Jimenez Perez, chair of the Association for InterCultural Awareness, and Rick Piñon Delgado, vice chair, said the idea of bringing supplies to the border was brought to their attention from council members of their association.

“(The council members) wanted to find a way that (Association for InterCultural Awareness) can come together and help out the caravan. So we plan on getting donations from different areas on campus and donating water or any supplies that we are able to get from here until Dec. 15,” Jimenez Perez said.

The Association for InterCultural Awareness is part of Associated Students‘ Programming, the part of student government in charge of event planning. They focus on honoring and educating students about different cultures and diversity on campus, and serve as a funding source for events hosted by culture-based student organizations on campus.

Jimenez Perez’s parents were also undocumented immigrants, which makes helping the individuals from the caravan personal to her, she said, adding that she wants to use her platform to help the migrant community.

“That could easily be my mom or my dad. They had to cross the border. Now it’s my turn, I am in a place of privilege now and I can do something about it,” she said.

Piñon Delgado said the way the individuals at the border are being treated is inhumane. He said the problem is not only a border issue or an immigration issue, but a human rights issue.

“I understand that sometimes there is conflict. I’ve heard things (about how) the migrants are causing havoc, but at the end of the day, these people are running for their lives. What are they supposed to do?” he said.

Jimenez Perez said it is important to think about why people are fleeing their countries when considering the border issue.

“I got an opportunity to go to Guadalajara during the Thanksgiving break and go talk to migrants and a lot of people have this fear. They are leaving their home not because they want to, (but) they really have this fear that they can’t go back home,” Jimenez Perez said.

Association for InterCultural Awareness is accepting supplies such as nonperishable food, clothes, blankets, hygiene products and baby clothes. The chair and vice chair also said they are accepting Venmo donations for water and supplies.

Other organizations on campus that are planning on helping the migrants are the Titan Dreamers Resource Center and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

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