On Nov 23, a petition was drafted and began circulation asking President Anderson to declare the Brooklyn College campus as a sanctuary space.
A “sanctuary campus” is a designation much like that of a “sanctuary city,” designating a campus or a university as one that adopts policies to protect students who are undocumented immigrants, and would not share undocumented status of students with ICE, or Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“As you are aware, CUNY-Brooklyn College is a place of higher learning for numerous undocumented students from various world regions. Many were brought here as children; their parent(s) migrating under dire economic conditions,” the petition reads. “Many of their families fled violence and poverty, equally recruited directly for their labor. They took a significant risk to ensure better livelihoods for themselves and their children. This country, this city, this borough, is their identity. It is all they know.”
The idea to petition for sanctuary status began directly after the election, when President-elect Trump stirred up the possibility of repealing DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, as well as the threat of a Muslim registry.
The protection would include the prevention of campus police and security from acting on the behalf of immigration authorities, as well as preventing the authorities to enter campus without a warrant.
The controversial aspect of the plea comes with potential consequence from not complying with federal authorities.
“We remain aware that the federal government has ultimate authority over immigration policy, and can penalize states and localities for non-compliance,” the letter read. “But these are the very reasons to declare a sanctuary or similar status, not only to protect our mission as an institution of inclusive learning for everyone regardless of status, but also to advance a broad collective effort on behalf of learning institutions across the country to reject President-elect Trump’s documented and declared hostility toward undocumented immigrants and groups of color.”
Brooklyn College is not alone in petitioning to become a sanctuary campus, as petitions have been surfacing on campuses across the City University of New York, and as well as another 100 universities across the country.
“By declaring ourselves a sanctuary university, Brooklyn College will hold true to these immutable principles by seeking to protect students, faculty and staff from investigation, or any form of intimidation by immigration officials while they are on campus,” the petition concluded. “We, the undersigned faculty, staff and students, urge you to take action.”
The petition currently has 182 names of students, faculty, staff and alumni and continues to grow.