November 27, 2016
More specifically, this letter outlines specific actions our university system can take to publicly express its commitment to the security and safety of all our students and especially those benefiting from DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). President-elect Trump has vowed to revoke DACA (which protects undocumented youth from deportation and allows them to work legally). He has also vowed to detain and deport undocumented residents across the country. Here at NMSU, without the provisions afforded by DACA, undocumented students who have excelled in and outside of the classroom will be denied the opportunity to continue their studies and complete their degrees.
Therefore, we the undersigned New Mexico State University students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members strongly urge you to take immediate steps to make NMSU a sanctuary campus for students, faculty, staff, and their families. On a sanctuary campus, the administration, faculty, and staff establish services and a climate of welcome for students of color, Muslims, Jews, LGBTQ students, women, and those students, faculty, staff, and their families who may face deportation under President-elect Donald J. Trump’s proposed policies.
We wish to express public support for DACA students and their families, and we request that the administration of the University take the following actions:
1. Ensure that the identities of undocumented members of our community continue to be protected.
2. Adopt a resolution that actively bans U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other immigration enforcement officials from this campus and all land owned or controlled by the university.
3. Block immigration officials from student information without explicit consent from the student.
4. Continue to allow qualifying DACA students to pay in-state resident tuition.
5. Make a public statement indicating that the university urges the U.S. government to affirmatively protect students who are currently under DACA from removal and supports a path to permanent status for these students.
An internal 2011 memo shows that ICE considers schools, including universities, as well as hospitals, houses of worship, and public demonstrations “sensitive locations” that subject ICE officers to certain restrictions. (See https://www.ice.gov/doclib/ero-outreach/pdf/10029.2-policy.pdf). This positions the University in a unique way, which it can and should use to protect undocumented community members from law enforcement. The specter of federal immigration agents on our campus threatens the safety and well-being of our students. It disrupts our core mission of education and the promotion of civil discourse, by undermining our commitment to all students, regardless of their immigration status.
We stand with a national movement led by students to assert campuses as sanctuary spaces. Currently more than 15 universities including land grant institutions are pursuing sanctuary status. Among these institutions are University of Wisconsin, Madison, University of Illinois, Champaign, to name a few.
We urge you to act expeditiously to make New Mexico State University and all its campuses sanctuaries. We must live up to the University’s land grant mission of democratic openness, accessibility, and service to all people. Further, as a Hispanic Serving Institution, we must live up to our commitment to Hispanic students. You regularly state that New Mexico State University is a “caring community.” Designating NMSU and all its campuses as sanctuaries expeditiously demonstrates your commitment to this ideal.
The New Mexico State University Community