Texas State University students hopped on the collegiate “sanctuary campus” bandwagon, petitioning their administrative leaders to declare the school a safe haven for illegal alien students, staff, and community members.
So far, nearly 800 students, alumni, faculty, employees, and others signed a petition created on November 23, according to KVUE. Petitioners urged the San Marcos-based university to adopt “sanctuary campus” policies and uphold the controversial 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, signed into law by President Obama via executive order.
“Our vision of a sanctuary campus involves actively and vigilantly protecting Texas State University’s most vulnerable populations through administrative policies. Events both locally and nationally have demonstrated a need for Texas State University to strengthen its commitment to diversity,” states the petition.
The document embraces the typical go-to buzzwords of ardent social justice warriors, calling the campus a “Hispanic Serving Institution” that values a diverse population, inclusiveness, a global perspective, and a sense of community. The petitioners support DACA protections. They criticize Texas State officials over hypothetical future actions that could repeal and deport the illegal immigrant students enrolled through the DACA program.
Nationally, the U.S. president-elect and his administration have discussed deporting millions, creating a national registry for Muslims, and repealing the Obama administration’s order on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Texas State University’s administration has not adequately communicated how it will respond if such actions occur.”
The lack of communication regarding DACA is particularly concerning. Undocumented students with DACA are extraordinarily vulnerable due to the information they have provided to the government. The DACA order safeguards students from deportation, grants them work authorization, and enables them to obtain drivers’ licenses. While it is unclear whether or how quickly government agencies will take action against students with DACA status, the potential threat of deportation will certainly have deleterious effects upon individuals and the university community at large.
The petitioners assert that university administrators and the Associated Student Government must take action to remedy their commitment to diversity by declaring the campus “a sanctuary for undocumented students, workers, and community members” and refuse to release student information to anyone. They also want policies that allow DACA students, if arrested, detained, and/or deported, to complete their college degrees online.
Although the crux of the petition leans heavily on protecting DACA students, the Texas State U. newspaper traced the document’s inception to “hostility and hate speech” on campus and recent threatening “vigilante” fliers posted on campus attributed to alleged Trump supporters and an unrelated student’s tragic suicide. For this, petitioners request the university shores up protections, counseling services, and advocacy networks to better serve “underrepresented” student body populations such as “immigrants, blacks, LGBTQIA, Muslims…”
The petitioners task the Associated Student Government with creating a committee that would devise multiple unspecified solutions address “the needs and concerns of vulnerable populations affected by potential immigration policies.” This think-tank would report its findings to the student body in a timely manner and must enact the best policies while complying with the university’s legal obligations.
On Tuesday, petitioners presented the signed document to university President Denise Trauth at a Bobcat United Roundtable hosted by the student government, according to the University Star. Student Julia Estrada, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), attended and told the campus newspaper: “As a Latino-serving institution devoted to diversity, it should be our objective to represent all students, including undocumented ones.”
The push for sanctuary campus status comes in response to President-Elect Donald Trump’s immigration proposals that include building a wall along the U.S. southern border and banning sanctuary cities, also a longstanding priority for Texas lawmakers. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick placed it as a top initiative for the state’s upcoming 85th Legislature. Breitbart Texas recently reported state Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) filed SB 4, a bill to eliminate sanctuary cities in the Lone Star State.
Last year, Governor Greg Abbott signed into law the toughest border security bill of any U.S. state. He called for the end of sanctuary cities in Texas after admonishing a Dallas County Sheriff for easing back on immigration holds for jailed immigrants. Abbott made clear sanctuary city policies will “no longer be tolerated in Texas.”
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