Associated Students, Inc. seeks sanctuary campus status
The resolution was created as a result of the election of Donald Trump as President.
January 22, 2017
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Associated Students, Inc. is hoping to help undocumented students feel safer on campus by passing a resolution in support of Cal State Long Beach’s potential to become a sanctuary campus, said Secretary for AB540 & Undocumented Students Kenia Duarte – who is undocumented herself.
The term “sanctuary campus” can vary in definition, but it essentially means that a university will put policies in place to protect undocumented students from deportation. While the resolution does not make CSULB a sanctuary campus, Duarte hopes that it will encourage President Jane Conoley to make one.
“I believe the most significant effects of being a sanctuary city and campus are yet to come,” Logan Vournas, vice president of ASI said. “It takes more than just saying you are a sanctuary city or campus to truly impact students, it takes action and it takes supporting the undocumented community in ways that challenge the current systematic oppressions that can really create an impact.”
Last spring, a CSULB police officer pulled over a man who was undocumented about a mile off campus for a broken taillight in an encounter that led to the man’s deportation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“We don’t want our campus police working with ICE in any way, because then people are going to be afraid to even drive around the campus,” Duarte said.
A policy was released after this incident called Order 55, which states that officers “shall not stop or detain persons for determining immigration status or arrest persons solely for alleged undocumented entry into the United States,” according to a press release from CSULB’s office of media and government relations.
Carlos Guijarro, senior Chicano and Latino Studies major and one of the organizers of last semester’s 5k run titled “Breaking Fronteras: Undocu5k,” says that regardless of last year’s Order 55, CSULB is not a sanctuary campus.
Guijarro thinks that part of the difficulty to declare CSULB a sanctuary campus is the controversy of a definitive meaning for such term. As for a solution, he thinks that the university should pay close attention to and work alongside organizations that are committed to this cause.
“CSULB should make an effort to connect with local and campus community leaders and organizers,” he said. “And ask what they [CSULB] can do to provide a safe environment for their undocumented members moving forward.”
Now that the resolution is passed, ASI officers will try to meet with President Conoley and other school officials to start the process of making the campus a sanctuary campus.
Gaby Hernandez, senior anthropology major and an undocumented student herself, thinks CSULB has a lot of work to do to be considered a sanctuary campus.
“CSULB has been working toward becoming a safe place for undocumented students but the reality is that we are not fully there yet,” she said.
Hernandez thinks that CSULB needs to reassure students that campus police will not engage in helping the federal government with deportations or immigration inquires.
“CSULB must reaffirm their commitment to create a campus atmosphere of respect by denouncing all hate speech directed at immigrants and all other minorities,” Hernandez said. “We will not feel safe until all of these policies are put in place by CSULB and made official.”
In addition, she also thinks that CSULB should provide confidential counseling services to undocumented students, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients and their families.
“Being undocumented, you never know how things are going to go or what’s going to happen,” Duarte said. “There’s always that fear of ‘Will I be deported?’ or ‘Will my family be deported?’ But I think there’s a lot of resilience when it comes to being an undocumented student or person. You kind of just have to go with things and you can’t let it get to you.