FORGET CITIES: College Exploring Idea of ‘Sanctuary Campus’

collegeWith the threat of their beloved sanctuary cities being shut down, college level snowflakes are looking for alternatives. And they came up with ‘sanctuary campuses’. Now, this should be just as illegal as sanctuary cities, but these goofs rarely listen to logic.

Two student organizations on the Southern Illinois University Carbondale campus are asking administrators to designate the campus a “formal sanctuary for undocumented immigrants, their families, and related community members.”

In response, SIU administrators say they are studying their options and the potential implications of such a decision.

In a November letter, leaders of the Graduate and Professional Student Council and the Undergraduate Student Government pleaded with administrators to “begin immediately” taking steps to protect vulnerable populations on campus following the election of Donald Trump as president.

Brandon Woudenberg, president of the Graduate and Professional Student Council, said the student groups’ concerns are for both undocumented students and international Muslim students studying legally at SIU on student visas who are concerned about losing their legal status or being unable to return to the United States if they visit their home country during their studies.

On the campaign trail, in the aftermath of the San Bernardino, California, mass shooting by self-radicalized Islamic state sympathizers, Trump called for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States until the country’s leaders “can figure out what is going on.” Trump later said that his position had morphed into a call for “extreme vetting” of people looking to enter the United States from “certain areas of the world.”

These and other statements from president-elect Trump have left many students on campus concerned about what might happen after his inauguration on Jan. 20, Woudenberg said.

“Given the amount of students that could very literally be in fear of their legal status vis-a-vis doctoral students or international students from the Middle East, which we have a fairly decent percentage of at SIU, we wanted to make sure they know we supported them and that they were aware we were advocating on their behalf,” said Woudenberg, who is earning his master’s degree in public administration. He graduated from the SIU School of Law in May.

He also noted that Trump has called for the elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that began under President Barack Obama’s administration, created by executive action.

The program, which began in 2012, grants prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action for a period of time for certain people who arrived in the United States prior to their 16th birthday, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. It also provides for two-year work permits that can be renewed, and has removed some barriers to higher education for undocumented immigrants, allowing them in-state tuition in their state of residence, for instance.

It has left many people benefiting from DACA — they are often referred to as Dreamers — concerned about their status in America. In an interview with Time magazine, Trump said of the Dreamers: “We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud.” He acknowledged to Time that these are people who were brought here “at a very young age” and “they’re in never-land because they don’t know what’s going to happen.”

SIU weighs options 

SIU has a robust international student population at its Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses. And on the Carbondale campus, there are about 20 students enrolled under the DACA program, according to SIU Carbondale Interim Chancellor Brad Colwell.

The letter from the student groups, which outlines a list of specific requests, is addressed to SIU System President Randy Dunn, Colwell and SIU Carbondale Interim Provost for Academic Affairs Susan Ford.

Dunn addressed the topic briefly following the Dec. 8 meeting of the SIU Board of Trustees, saying that various people within the organization have been charged with studying the pros and cons of such a designation and that no decision had been made.

“Whatever the campuses do, it’s going to be consistent across the system,” Dunn said. “We’re not going to have one which is and one which isn’t. That’s not going to happen.” The SIU System also includes the School of Medicine in Springfield.

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