World

Students Helping Undocumented Immigrants Near Border

| by Michael Allen
Undocumented ImmigrantsUndocumented Immigrants

A Northern Arizona University student chapter of No More Deaths, a humanitarian organization, plans to provide clothing, food and medical aid to undocumented immigrants illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

A GoFundMe page, which is complete and no longer active, stated that the students will "walk miles through remote corridors into which migration has been pushed, leaving water, food, socks, blankets, and other supplies" for undocumented immigrants, Campus Reform notes.

The fundraising campaign reportedly solicited donations by saying: "Your help will fund these resources directly set out on migrant paths as well as provide support to our volunteers."

"Although they are people of another nationality, they’re still human beings," No More Deaths newly-elected vice president, Vanessa Savel, told KPNX.

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No More Deaths noted an article in The New York Times that said more than 6,000 undocumented immigrants had died while crossing the border between October 2000 and September 2016.

"We can’t just like ignore this whole issue," Savel added. "That amounts to a humanitarian crisis."

Savel said the volunteers cannot break the law by "transporting a migrant or directly telling them where to go."

Savel recalled stories that she has heard from women about "suffering and sexual harassment and abuse," and "visually seeing the impacts on their body of the journey."

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The No More Deaths website explains its beginnings and mission:

No More Deaths is a humanitarian organization based in southern Arizona. We began in 2004 in the form of a coalition of community and faith groups, dedicated to stepping up efforts to stop the deaths of migrants in the desert and to achieving the enactment of a set of Faith-Based Principles for Immigration Reform. We later developed into an autonomous project. Since 2008 we have been an official ministry of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson.

The mission of No More Deaths is to end death and suffering in the Mexico–US borderlands through civil initiative: people of conscience working openly and in community to uphold fundamental human rights. Our work embraces the Faith-Based Principles for Immigration Reform and focuses on the following themes:

  • Direct aid that extends the right to provide humanitarian assistance
  • Witnessing and responding
  • Consciousness raising
  • Global movement building
  • Encouraging humane immigration policy

...No More Deaths maintains a year-round humanitarian presence in the deserts of southwestern Arizona. We work in the remote corridors into which migration has been pushed, where people are walking 30 to 80 miles. Volunteers hike the trails and leave water, food, socks, blankets, and other supplies. Under the direction of our medical team, volunteers provide emergency first-aid treatment to individuals in distress.

Sources: Campus Reform, KPNX, No More Deaths, GoFundMe / Photo Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Flickr

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