CSU San Marcos students protest border agents’ presence at job fair

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SAN MARCOS, Calif. – Dozens of students gathered Thursday to voice opposition over U.S. Customs and Border Protection being on the campus of California State University, San Marcos.

The agency was at CSUSM as part of the school's annual career fair.

“Our campus is a safe place for all students and Border Patrol being here really brings a lot of fear to us,” said Selena Arellano, student protestor.

Members of student organizations lined the hallway outside the student union ballroom, staging what they called a "border reality checkpoint."

“There have been 50 killings since 2010 at the border by Border Patrol agents and none of them have been arrested or looked into,” said Arellano.  “We never know what could happen something could escalate into someone being detained.”

CSUSM officials said students were notified one week prior to the career fair that CBP agents would be on campus for the career fair.

“We recognize there are members of our campus community that are uncomfortable with the Border Patrol on our campus,” said Jennifer Vaughan.

Vaughan said the university, which has a strong program in criminal justice, invited CBP along with several other law enforcement agencies.

“The Border Patrol -- we are happy to have them on our campus to share this opportunity with our students as well as all of our vendors,” said Vaughan.

FOX 5 contacted the agency and received the following statement from Supervisory Border Patrol Agent James Nielsen.

"The sole focus of CBP’s participation in the California State University–San Marcos career fair is to inform students about the exciting career opportunities that our agency has to offer.  Uniformed CBP personnel will be on campus to speak to potential candidates for recruiting purposes, not to engage in law enforcement action.  Our agency respects any student’s right to gather and protest, and we have the utmost appreciation for a protest being carried out in a peaceful manner."

“My major is criminal justice,” said student Brittany Allen.

Allen said she appreciates the various opportunities the fair offers and said whether it’s CBP, FBI or any other agency, it’s just about a job.

“I know that could start some friction, but it’s still a career opportunity,” said Allen.

CSUSM said U.S. Customs and Border Protection representatives have attended the last three career fairs.  CSUSM has always invited the agency to attend.  To date, no one has ever been detained at a career fair.

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