Opinion: Make Hampshire a Sanctuary Campus

Eduardo Samaniego

Undocumented immigrants are the most vulnerable group to a Trump presidency. For those of you who are not aware, there are currently over 700,000 young undocumented immigrants in the U.S. who have been approved for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a two year reprieve from deportation. It also gives those qualified access to a two-year permit to work, a driver license and a SSN. Donald Trump has promised to strip away this protection, making 700,000 people who have only know this country their whole life defenseless and vulnerable to immediate deportation. I focus in this group because after DACA this group was able to go and seek better jobs, they set up businesses, started non-profits and fight harder than ever for their undocumented families. Without DACA the threat of deportation is much higher and their power to fight, to stop the deportation of their families, neighbors and communities is greatly reduced. Furthermore, this group of young undocumented immigrants have provided the government with their address, phone numbers, place of work and all of their information in their application for DACA, and now live in fear that ICE will use this information to come knocking on their doors. This is truly terrifying.

Dozens of colleges and universities have moved to protect their students, faculty and staff from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by declaring themselves sanctuaries for undocumented people. Hampshire College has doubled down on the priority to honor its commitment to be a non-discriminatory institution, regardless of national origin or citizenship status. This commitment, however, only goes as far as to not “willingly” participate in deportations of students or those who were seek refugee at Hampshire. Meaning that staff, students and others who seek refugee at our college can be removed by ICE without further intervention from our college.

This is where students come in. This is the time to ask ourselves this questions: what are we going to do if ICE requests information on the immigration status of our students? What are we going to do if ICE comes to forcibly remove a student or other undocumented immigrants from our college? What are we going to do to show solidarity with students who have DACA? How can we fight for the eleven million undocumented immigrants who have lived for decades and from whom we benefit everyday? In the coming days there will be protests, marches, other events in solidarity and strategy spaces, our students, staff and administration should not only show up but actively engage and organize this events.

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