Protect undocumented students at SIUC

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Dear SIUC Administration,

We, the students, staff, faculty, and community of Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC), believe that our campus should serve as a safe community for all students regardless of immigration status.

We particularly ask the University publicly express and demonstrate a commitment to the protection of all our students, especially those who are recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

DACA is being terminated, making students once again vulnerable, including risk of deportation, losing their jobs, scholarships, and driver’s licenses. We currently have several students with DACA attending our Carbondale campus, and that number may be higher when all SIU campuses are included. An attack on their safety is an attack on the entire SIU community and the values of openness and inclusivity that have made our university, our community, and our nation great. The time to act to protect our students’ education and future is right now.

Students at this university who have DACA should not have to fear losing their education and feeling unsafe on our campus. Let’s show them – and all students – that we are the kind of community that has their back and they will always be welcome here.

We call on you to declare that SIUC will always be open to students who are DACA recipients regardless of the program’s termination.

To ensure the safety of our fellow students of all immigration statuses, we request the following steps be taken and a public statement be issued:

1. Make the university a safe campus that protects the undocumented form deportation or detention by refusing to assist in the enforcement of immigration laws except as required by law (according to the TRUST Act).

2. Protect student record information, in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), by the following means:

a. Refuse to turn over student information to immigration enforcement authorities except pursuant to a court order.

b. Refrain from gathering information about students’ citizenship or immigration status in the course of providing educational or other services in connection with public safety activities, except as required in connection with tuition or financial aid eligibility.

3. Refuse immigration enforcement officials access to campus except to the extent required by a warrant or court order; ensure that students, advisors, and allies are prepared in the case of an ICE/CBP presence on SIUC’s campus by issuing a timely warning; and create an emergency plan in case of an ICE/CBP presence on campus.

4. Partner with local community organizations to help provide Immigration 101 trainings for faculty and staff so that they have a better understanding of our students’ urgent challenge and are better suited to help our immigrant students.

5. Expand CAPS and Saluki Cares resources to make DACA-specific counseling publicly available and to make Saluki Cares funding available to DACA/Undocumented students.

6. Provide a designated advisor to attend to the specific needs of DACA/Undocumented students, including emotional, legal, and financial aid concerns.

7. Allow DACA students to pay their current tuition rate and remain eligible for the same scholarships available to them prior to the termination of DACA.

8. Create a scholarship specifically for undocumented students on campus.

9. Issue a University statement urging Illinois and U.S. Congress to pass legislation protecting and supporting our DACA/Undocumented students and neighbors.

10. Take all these measures during the current academic year (in other words, immediately) so that DACA students can be assured of institutional support.

Yours truly,

Define American at SIUC, Hispanic Student Council, Latino Cultural Association, and SIU Undergraduate Student Government, SIU’s DACA/Undocumented students and allies

Action Alliance Southern Illinois, Carbondale Racial Justice Coalition, Race Unity of Carbondale, Southern Illinois Immigrant Rights Project, and Jackson County’s DACA/Undocumented community members and allies