NAU students prepare to help immigrants crossing border

A group of NAU student volunteers are rescheduling their twice a year trip to the border to leave essential aid for immigrant border crossers.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - A group of Northern Arizona University professors and students postponed a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border to help save lives of immigrants making their way into the country.

Members of No Más Muertes, or No More Deaths, think there are too many immigrants dying while crossing the border.

“Although they are people of another nationality, they’re still human beings,” said the organization’s newly elected vice president, Vanessa Savel.

The trip was scheduled to begin May 15, but was canceled Thursday after scheduling errors became apparent. The group hopes to schedule another trip soon.

Savel has volunteered at the border in the past and said the experience was life-changing.

“We can’t just like ignore this whole issue,” Savel said.

The group cited a New York Times article which stated that from October 2000 through last September, more than 6,000 immigrants died while illegally crossing into the country along the southwest border. The article went on to say that was higher than the death toll in Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 combined.

“That amounts to a humanitarian crisis,” Savel said.

The NAU team was heading out for a week to give water, food, blankets and medical aid to immigrants—careful not to break the law and do things they’re not allowed to do.

“Which include transporting a migrant or directly telling them where to go,” Savel said.

For Savel it was a passion. She said the stories she heard from women years ago of, “suffering and sexual harassment and abuse,” and, “visually seeing the impacts on their body of the journey,” have impacted her for life.

She hoped the upcoming return to the border would change even more lives.

The trip was funded by donations from events and GoFundMe.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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