By: Savin Mattozzi ~Staff Writer~
Pressure has been mounting on college campuses across the country as many students, including some at the University of Cincinnati, advocate to become “sanctuary campuses” in response to the Trump administration’s recent executive order limiting immigration.
Cincinnati’s mayor, John Cranley declared that the city would become a sanctuary city on Jan. 30. Cincinnati joins hundreds of other municipalities in opting not to cooperate with federal immigration authorities when it comes to undocumented immigrants.
This measure came one week before Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted raids in New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago and San Antonio.
In the raids that took place Feb. 6-13, ICE arrested more than 680 people.
Department of Homeland Security secretary John F. Kelly said in a statement that 75 percent of those arrested were “criminal aliens.”
However, The Intercept, a publication created to focus on document leaks, noted that a quarter of those arrested had no criminal record.
There has been pressure at the University of Cincinnati from students and professors for the university to become a sanctuary campus.
At Xavier, Father Michael Graham, president, signed onto a letter by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities affirming its commitment to protect, to the fullest extent, undocumented students.
Graham sent out a campus-wide email two weeks ago stating that he and the university stand with students who may be affected by the Trump administration’s recent executive order limiting immigration and travel to the United States from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
The order has since been halted by federal courts.
May Lee Moua-Vue, the assistant director for International Student and Scholar Services at the Center for International Education, said that the university has made public its stance on undocumented students.
“Like many other Canadian and American universities, our community has pledged to be very welcoming to students of all statuses, legal or not.”
She mentioned, however, that there is still work to be done.
“We are very behind,” Moua- Vue said. “There is a gap in that knowledge and service here. At Marquette University, they have a dedicated staff that serves students who are undocumented. Knowing that they are also a Jesuit institution, we will be able to see if we can imitate any of that here.”
Associate Provost and Chief Student Affairs Officer Dave Johnson explained that the term “sanctuary campus” is more of a symbol than it is an actual legal objective.
Regardless of whether or not a campus is a “sanctuary campus,” it cannot physically stop federal agents from entering and arresting students.
“The term promises more than you can deliver,” Johnson said. “It’s a little bit dangerous. In the spirit of we’re going to do everything we can to protect our students regardless of whether they are documented and to protect students who are refugees, we will do everything we can because we believe that those individuals should be members of our campus community. We believe that our campus community is a richer community with those individuals as members of it.”