Harvard Rejects Sanctuary Status Yet Will Not Enforce Federal Law | Dec 2016

Harvard Rejects ‘Sanctuary Campus’ Demand

– Breitbart

“Harvard University will not designate itself as a “sanctuary campus,” which would have shielded illegal immigrant students from federal immigration law, university President Drew G. Faust announced.

Faust, who was lobbied by students advocating for multicultural-aligned university policies, denied a request to transform Harvard into a campus where federal immigration officials with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency are banned from campus, the Harvard Crimson reported.

“[The sanctuary campus policy] also risks drawing special attention to the students in ways that could put their status in greater jeopardy,” Faust said during a Harvard faculty meeting. “I believe it would endanger, rather than protect, our students, and that is not something I am willing for this institution to do.”

“Sanctuary campus status has no legal significance or even clear definition,” Faust continued. “It offers no actual protection to our students. I worry that in fact it offers false and misleading assurance.”

Harvard history professor Walter Johnson and Anwar Omeish, the Director of External Relations of the Harvard Islamic Society, were two individuals on campus who previously held a rally at the university demanding a sanctuary campus policy.

Rally-goers for the sanctuary campus policy reportedly “discussed the pain and fear” students feel after President-Elect Donald Trump’s stunning victory to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, the Crimson reported.

“When we as faculty and when we as administrators admit these students as our students, we make a fundamental commitment to support these students so that they can thrive,” Harvard associate professor Sergio Delgado said at the sanctuary campus rally. “And whenever we fail at that commitment we’re not just failing those students, we’re failing this institution and we’re failing ourselves.”

Harvard is not the first university to openly reject sanctuary campus policies.”

….Continue reading @ Breitbart



Faust Says Harvard Will Not Be a ‘Sanctuary Campus’

– Harvard Crimson

Anwar Omeish, Director of External Relations of the Harvard Islamic Society – Photo credit: Cynthia Guo


“University President Drew G. Faust said Harvard will not designate itself a “sanctuary campus” at a Faculty of Arts and Sciences meeting held Tuesday afternoon in the Science Center.

Faust said she is worried calling Harvard a “sanctuary campus,” a term she argued has no legal significance, could actually further endanger undocumented students at Harvard. She said she has met with members of Congress and other federal officials to discuss protections for undocumented students .

Faust spoke on the subject in response to questions history professor Walter Johnson raised during the meeting. He asked what steps the University will take to protect its undocumented students and other minority groups he said are threatened by President-elect Donald Trump’s proposed policies.

Johnson urged Faust to support labeling Harvard a sanctuary campus, citing the University’s global prominence and insisting the decision presented an opportunity for Harvard to demonstrate moral leadership.

“Given the importance of the word ‘sanctuary’ in the national discussion, the opportunity that Harvard has to take up moral leadership in that discussion, and the immense importance of the word to our students, [most] specifically to their sense that the University is willing to stand… by their side, why not use it,” Johnson said.

In her response, Faust noted initiatives the University has undertaken to support undocumented students in recent weeks, including hosting immigration experts and appointing Lars Madsen, Faust’s chief of staff, as a coordinator for advising efforts for undocumented students. Last month, Faust, in an email to Harvard affiliates, reiterated a message from Harvard University Police Department Chief Francis D. Riley indicating that the department will not ask about the immigration status of Harvard affiliates or enforce federal immigration laws.

At the meeting, Faust also discussed how the University would continue to lobby for federal research funding and a tax-exempt endowment under the Trump administration. She rejected the idea of sanctuary campus status, however, arguing that the name lacks a clear definition.

Daishi Tanaka ’19, an undocumented student, echoed Delgado’s sentiments. He said his life on campus has “definitely” changed for the worse since Trump won the presidency, and that the idea of a sanctuary campus is “personally important” to him because it would grant him a “mental security” he now lacks.”

…Continue reading @ The Crimson



Calling Home: Undocumented Students, After the Election

– Harvard Crimson

“All the interviews seem to start the same way. We say hello, and I ask how things are going, and we share a dry, tight-lipped smile, because we both know that question does little justice to its answer.

We aren’t strangers. I interviewed each of my subjects for an article about undocumented students back in September, and I’ve collected fragments of their lives in the back of my mind: Jin K. Park ’18, frantically searching for burn remedies after his father, who was ineligible for most forms of healthcare, was injured on the job; Shankar Ramkellawan ’19, sharing a one-bedroom apartment with his family after immigrating from Guyana; Daishi M. Tanaka ’19, living alone in Los Angeles after his undocumented parents left the country and wondering when he would have the money to visit them.

But a lot has happened since September. The leaves have turned, dining hall workers have gone on strike and returned to work, heavy jackets have emerged from storage bins, and Donald Trump has ridden a current of anti-immigrant fervor into the White House.

Most Harvard students, undocumented or not, seem to have entered Nov. 8 with some feeling that Hillary Clinton would win the White House by the end of the night. By around 10 p.m., however, Trump had clinched several key swing states, and the possibility of his election became material.

“I didn’t say it, but I knew in my heart that he was going to win, and it was soul-crushing,” Ramkellawan recalls. He had been watching the election results “passively” and doing homework with friends at the Winthrop House watch party until the New York Times reported an 80 percent likelihood of a Trump victory. “Then, we stopped p-setting,” he says. “We had to watch the election.”

Tanaka hosted a viewing party for Act on a Dream, Harvard’s immigration advocacy group, in his 10-person suite in Quincy. As swing states turned red, the room went silent. People paced, cried, and called their family members. Eventually, Tanaka sent everyone home to get some sleep. “We really wanted everyone to rest and take care of themselves, however that may be,” he says.

Maribel Nava ’20, a member of Act on a Dream and an American citizen born to undocumented Mexican parents, stayed up until 5 a.m. “I didn’t want to fall asleep, because waking up would make it real,” she recalls.

The days that followed looked different for everyone. Ramkellawan dropped a p-set and a late-night shift at the Y2Y homeless shelter. Park refused to skip class after the election. Tanaka slept, took walks on the river, and spent time with his blockmates, whom he considers his family.

Tanaka describes a “disconnect” with his parents, who currently live in Asia and assured him that he could just return to Japan. “It’s a very scary situation. It’s a lot of uncertainty,” he says. “I just know that this is my home and I’m not going to leave—I’m here to stay.”

…Continue reading @ The Crimson


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