Anna Sheffer
June 22, 2018 10:23 am

It’s been a heartbreaking two months for immigrants seeking entry into the United States. After the Trump administration announced its zero-tolerance policy, seeking asylum became more dangerous than ever. But some are fighting back to protect those seeking a better life in our country. One such organization is Border Angels — and many of its members are teenagers.

Border Angels was founded in 1986 and is an organization that “advocates for human rights, humane immigration reform, and social justice with a special focus on issues related to the US-Mexican border,” according to its website. Ten years after its founding, volunteers from the nonprofit began trekking out into the desert east of San Diego to leave water and other supplies for incoming immigrants.

In an article published today, June 22nd, Teen Vogue‘s Elaine Murphy profiled Border Angels, accompanying the organization on a water drop. Among the 12 volunteers in Murphy’s group were 14-year-old Sebastian Castillo, 15-year-old Emmanuel Gonzalez, and 18-year-old Tyler Smart. Together, the group traveled five miles carrying 23 gallons of water between them. Murphy wrote that the volunteers had written notes of hope and encouragement on the water jugs, like “¡Falta poco!” (Almost there!)

When the group encountered two migrant men, Murphy explained that they were unable to physically hand them supplies for fear of being arrested by Border Patrol, so they did their best to show the men how to find the water they’d left.

"I wish [people] knew that [migrants] are just other people looking for a better life. They’re equals to us; they’re not less than or more than,” Castillo told Teen Vogue. “We should accept them with open arms like any other human.

Given the high temperatures and extreme conditions along the U.S.-Mexico border, crossing into the States is a harrowing experience. According to official Border Patrol statistics cited in a 2017 USA Today article, at least 7,209 people have died crossing the border since 1997. Border Angels hopes to prevent some of these deaths.

With the Trump administration’s draconian immigration laws, helping immigrants may be more important now than ever before, and we applaud the work of these brave volunteers. If you wish to help immigrants coming to the U.S., you can donate to organizations supporting people at the border, contact your representatives, or volunteer your time.

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