Two College Students Were Charged with a Misdemeanor For Protesting the Border Patrol

Right-wing "free speech advocates" have been strangely silent

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Two College Students Were Charged with a Misdemeanor For Protesting the Border Patrol

On March 20, during Spring Career Days at the University of Arizona, two Border Patrol officers gave a presentation on their jobs. A female student protested their presence, calling them “murderers,” an “extension of the KKK” and “Murder Patrol.” Two children died while in Border Patrol custody in December 2018, including seven-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin, and The Intercept obtained 1,224 complaints of sexual abuse, primarily in ICE custody, filed between 2010 and September 2017, believed to be a “fraction of those filed.”

“There are students that pay to be here who need this to be a safe space for them,” the student says in the video below. She was joined in her protest by at least one other pupil as they followed the Border Patrol agents to their car, saying in Spanish, “A la verga con la migra,” which roughly translates to, “Go to hell, Border Patrol.” During the video, the students walked by a larger protest against ICE’s presence on campus.

The conservative group Judicial Watch filed a complaint against the university following the incident. Now, two students, including the one who was recording on their cell phone, are being charged with a misdemeanor following their protest. They are specifically being charged for “interference with the peaceful conduct of an educational institution,” UA President Robert C. Robbins explained in a statement.

Do you hear that? Nothing, huh? That’s the silence of every right-winger who’s ever railed about freedom of speech on campuses. We don’t exactly see them jumping to these protesters’ defense.

Robbins wrote, “The incident between the protesting students and the Criminal Justice club members was a dramatic departure from our expectations of respectful behavior and support for free speech on this campus.”

“I have assigned university staff to examine our processes to ensure we are working effectively to help prevent similar incidents in the future while maintaining the 1st Amendment right to free speech and protest,” he continued.

“Student protest is protected by our support for free speech, but disruption is not,” Robbins added. In case you, like Robbins, weren’t aware, protest is by nature disruptive. That’s how it gets your attention.

Jeffrey Sachs, a lecturer at Acadia University, pointed out how easily that claim of “disruption” will come to encompass whatever the university’s administration disapproves of.

The charges have not yet been filed, according to an email from UA Police Chief Brian Seastone, AZ Central reports. There may be more coming, though, as the March 29 statement from Robbins implies:

“The UA Police Department will continue to investigate the incident for additional criminal violations, and the Office of the Dean of Students is reviewing potential violations of the student code of conduct. There also will be a probe into actions involving UA employees.”