ASU Young Democrats hosting clothing drive for asylum seekers

The club is working in collaboration with local organization All Hands AZ

Young Democrats ASU is holding a clothing drive on Friday with local charity All Hands AZ to benefit asylum seekers who have recently arrived in the U.S. with limited clothing. 

Young Democrats President Mariana Peña, a senior studying political science, said hosting this initiative for migrants was imperative and important to the club as a whole. The clothing drive drop-off will be at ASU's Tempe campus at 3:00 p.m. on Friday in room 250 of Discovery Hall.

"They are dropped off (in the U.S.) with just the literal clothes on their backs, so we want to have this clothing drive to support their efforts," Peña said in an email. 

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, from fiscal 2018 to 2019, the number of apprehensions of single adults seeking asylum has risen by 26%. The number of apprehensions of families seeking asylum has risen by more than 300%.

All Hands AZ is an organization of volunteers who supports asylum seekers and migrants from Central America. These migrants often have been granted temporary asylum and are awaiting a verdict in court. 

The organization provides support for migrants for 12-48 hours while they make arrangements to reunite with friends or family members. Some of the services their volunteers provide are housing, food, clothing, translation and transportation. 

ASU's Young Democrats has done similar events before, such as another clothing drive last year done in partnership with the Maricopa County Democratic Party and other ASU student organizations.

READ MORE: ASU clubs and Maricopa County Democratic Party help asylum seekers through donation drives

Orion DiFranco, a sophomore studying political science, empathizes with asylum seekers' struggles. 

"I’m glad we’re doing what we can to make life easier for these families who have already been through so much," DiFranco said. "Especially as some folks in our state try to vilify and do harm to them."

Being a border state, Arizona is a hotbed for asylum seekers who have recently entered the U.S. 

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency often drops asylum seekers off in big Southwest cities like Phoenix with a time restraint of 10 days to reunite with their family members in the U.S, according to an article by AZ Central. 

This process can be daunting for migrants, which is why groups like All Hands AZ offer their services to help during this transition period. 

Berenice Pelayo, a senior studying business law, is a specialist at ASU's DREAMzone, a campus resource center for training and advocacy for DACA, undocumented and other students who have families of mixed immigration status.

Pelayo said he is pleased with ASU's support toward undocumented migrants. 

"I think there could always be more support for the undocumented population, but I think ASU has been doing a very good job of supporting DACA and undocumented students at ASU," Pelayo said.


Reach the reporter at  jadamso8@asu.edu and follow @jadamson333 on Twitter. 

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