Students at Southern Illinois University (SIU) are now demanding a “sanctuary campus” policy that will shield not only students from federal immigration laws, but also “their families, and related community members,” according to a letter sent to the university’s administration.
Students with the Graduate and Professional Student Council and the Undergraduate Student Government are demanding that university officials “begin immediately” crafting a campus policy that would offer comprehensive sanctuary to the illegal immigrant population from federal immigration laws, according to The Southern.
Students demanding the sanctuary policy cite President-Elect Donald Trump’s tough stance on immigration, where he plans to deport criminal illegal immigrants and keep migrants from Islamic terrorism-compromised countries from entering the U.S.
“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,” President of the Graduate and Professional Student Council Brandon Woudenberg told The Southern.
Additionally, there are at least 20 illegal immigrant students who are enrolled at SIU under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, according to university officials.
Trump has hinted at reversing DACA, as it allows young people to take spots at American taxpayer-funded universities despite entering the country illegally.
SIU Carbondale Interim Chancellor Brad Colwell is already pushing back against the demand by students, saying that under Trump, the university would be risking federal funding if it goes out of its way to shield illegal immigrants in the area.
“The concept of a sanctuary campus is complex and brings with it a number of legal questions,” Colwell wrote in a response. “We do not want to go forward in a way that has unintended consequences for the university and all of its students.”
But, Colwell said the university was still looking at its options when it came to delving into protecting illegal immigrants.
“The university is exploring these questions and staying attuned to what is happening at other institutions in Illinois and across the country,” Colwell stated.
Most recently at the University of Illinois, officials shot down a proposal to turn the campus into a haven for illegal immigrants, as Breitbart Texas reported.
University President Timothy Killeen and Executive Vice President Barb Wilson told faculty and students in a statement that the school would not implement sanctuary campus policies, noting that they would follow state and federal law.
John Binder is a contributor for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.