Minneapolis, MN- University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler has responded to a petition urging a sanctuary campus by promising that illegal immigrants will be able to continue their studies uninterrupted.
A petition urging the university to create a sanctuary campus gathered more than 1,500 signatures from the community. A sanctuary campus is similar to a sanctuary city, in the attempt to shield illegal immigrants from deportation by the federal government.
Among other things, the petition seeks to prevent UMN’s police department from cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, blocking law enforcement from accessing community members’ records, and extending legal counsel to students facing deportation.
“I want to assure you that the University’s senior leadership team and I are firmly committed to the safety of all of our students, including immigrants and undocumented students,” Kaler wrote in prepared statement, “And we will advocate for them to be able to attend the University and continue their studies uninterrupted.
Kaler is also a signer of a statement in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program. The policy was started by the Obama administration in June 2012, and allows illegal immigrants who entered the country as minors to receive renewable two-year periods of deferred action regarding deportation, as well as making them eligible for a work permit.
Quite a few campuses have seen pushes for sanctuary status in the wake of President-elect Donald Trump’s victory on November 8. While the focus seems to be on potential changes to immigration law, further enforcement of existing law may be the more pressing issue.
The University of Minnesota issued a statement which was attached to Kaler’s. UMN as a whole also seems to be in favor of moving toward the sanctuary campus status.
“Be assured that the University will stay true to its values and advocate for our undocumented students, international students, and all members of our community,” the statement reads, “We remain dedicated to doing everything in our power to ensure legally that all members of the University of Minnesota community can continue their studies, research, and teaching without interruption. The safety of everyone on our campuses is important to us.”
Trump has already threatened to withhold all federal funding from sanctuary cities. St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Worthington are all considered to be sanctuary cities. Their status as such could cost the state tens of millions of dollars reports WCCO. That price tag will continue to grow with every new entity that becomes a haven for illegal immigrants.