Do not make UCF a "sanctuary campus"
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Dear President Hitt,
This week, as you may know, President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order to halt immigration and entry of refugees from several nations in the Middle East and Africa in ordinance with his campaign promises. This action drew much criticism and support from the American people, international heads of government, and foreign citizens. In response, there has been a movement to promote so-called "sanctuary campuses", with the goal of designating a university as one in order to refuse to cooperate with authorities on the president's immigration and refugee policies, through a variety of methods (for example, refusing to hand over the immigration status of students).
Although this may seem good on paper, in practice it is not. Here are the reasons why:
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has methods of finding out information anyways; their entire job is to enforce immigration laws, and university records are just one of the many ways that ICE can find out about a person's status. In fact, advocates themselves admit that ICE can get records and access to university campuses anyways.
- ICE does not prioritize universities, as outlined by Policy 10029.2 on Sensitive Locations (https://www.ice.gov/doclib/ero-outreach/pdf/10029.2-policy.pdf)."Inside Higher Ed" has noted that "virtually no campus has ever been raided for students in unauthorized status or undocumented campus workers, and they are unlikely to be"
- Failing to cooperate with the government puts the university at various risks and threats of repercussions, like lawsuits or a cut of funding from the current administration, which would greatly harm UCF and the research conducted here as well as the ability to maintain a good education
- Sanctuary campuses in general, whatever the vague purposes are, would only protect students within the campus; this does not help undocumented students on off-housing campus nor outside of the universities' reach of authority
- The advocates of the sanctuary designation fail to realize that the executive order is in effect for three months, and not permanent, and that the order itself seems to have holes (the British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson has told the media that when discussing the issue with the American Government, this policy covers travel directly from the 7 nations and is ambiguous on travel from intermediate countries) and is being challenged by legal entities
- The advocates also fail to understand their own demands; ICE cannot conduct unwarranted searches (in fact, absolutely no government agency can); Student Legal Services already provides legal services to all students, and if they cannot cover it, they refer students to qualified and trained lawyers that fight for the rights of all, undocumented or not; the UCF Police Department is not a private entity, as stated by Florida State Statute 1012.97 they have the full authority as law enforcement officers, and they are legally bound to cooperating with the state and federal government and the university cannot undermine that (also consider ICE Policy 10029.2 on university campuses anyways)
This isn't a call to denounce or promote any governmental actions, as students for and against President Trump both believe that a sanctuary campus designation is either useless or harmful. Should this call fail, and UCF is given such a status, we will stand against the consequences of the status and fight for the university, such as in the cases of cutting federal funding as it has been promised to be done on sanctuary cities. Our movement just goes a step further by trying to avoid those consequences.
I do not know who is undocumented or a refugee on campus. It is an honor to be along side such a great community and accepting environment, and do not want to see fellow Knights harmed by any reckless actions taken by the government. I will not discuss my own personal politics beyond condemnation of orders and actions committed by the government. It is possible to be concerned for the (temporary) ban on refugee entry from certain nations, however with an unpredictable administration, it is also possible to understand that it is in the best interests for all to not act reckless ourselves.
Thank you for your time and concern.
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