In the wake of the recent Presidential election, we - University of Texas faculty, staff, and students - write to demand that you investigate the possibility of our campus serving as a sanctuary for students, staff, and their family members who face imminent deportation. Given the announced plan by President-elect Trump to deport millions of immigrants and to abolish the DACA program that provides relief from deportation for over 700,000 students in the United States, we demand that you do everything in your power to establish UT-Austin as a sanctuary campus for undocumented immigrants, their families, and related community members.
We see this as a concrete action the university can take to support and protect the people within our community. We have reason to believe that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers are subject to restrictions based on a 2011 memo regarding places of worship, schools, and hospitals. [https://www.ice.gov/doclib/news/releases/2011/110302washingtondc.pdf]
We make the following specific requests:
+ Guarantee student privacy by refusing to release information regarding the immigration status of our students and community members. Refuse to comply with immigration authorities regarding deportations or raids.
+ Guarantee in-state tuition to students previously awarded DACA recipients.
+ Assure that all students receive a campus, classroom, and community experience free of hostilities, aggressions, and bullying by training all staff and faculty in de-escalation intervention techniques, and promoting campus dialogues.
As a University that prides itself on its international programs and its international students, we believe that The University of Texas should be a leader in efforts to defend undocumented immigrants from the draconian policies that Trump has outlined. Petitions at colleges and universities across the United States have already gathered thousands of signatures in an effort to make their institutions sanctuaries.
As we face difficult days ahead, the University of Texas community would like to stand together with our undocumented brothers and sisters..
Dear President Fenves and Provist McInnis,
I am forwarding a petition bearing nearly 8,000 signatures of individuals who are conveying their compassion and support for DACA and other undocumented students at UT. I began this petition on Nov. 14 and it includes the language of "sanctuary campus" which has since become a greatly politicized concept. However, many actions can be taken that would offer some protection and security for undocumented students at UT and make material what are generally felt values of welcome and acceptance for them.
In these times of heated debates about immigration in the life of the United States, the embrace of undocumented students conveyed by this petition, and other vehicles for conveying community support, have grounding in political theory and legal interpretations. That is, undocumented students can legally claim rights and protections in the United States through the concept “social membership.” [See Joseph Carens, The Ethics of Immigration (Oxford 2015) and Hiroshi Motomura, Immigration Outside the Law (Oxford 2014)].
Last but not least, I thank you for strongly stating your support for continuance of the DACA program, anti-discrimination and anti-hate speech, and insistence that UT values diversity and internationalism in its campus community.
Madeline Y. Hsu
History/Center for Asian American Studies/Asian Studies