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Undocumented families and students are currently one of many marginalized groups that will be attacked under Trump’s presidency. As human beings, it is important to protect the rights and dignities of other human beings, even if they weren’t born on the same soil. We are all part of the same race – the human race.
Even if you are not a person of color and this dilemma may not apply to you personally, I am sure that you may have friends who are of color, are first generation students, or are even immigrants themselves. You may be unaware of the sense of turmoil your friends may have for their families or themselves.
There are many students within the Boston area who are undocumented. What makes it possible for these particular students to have the priviledge to an education is because of a policy known as DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The purpose of this policy is to defer deportation of undocumented youths who immigrated into the US as children for up to three years, giving them the right to apply for a work permit, driver’s license, and to study in the US.
The guidelines for this policy are very strict and these rights only apply for those who qualify. Undocumented youths who have applied for DACA’s benefits have willingly put out their identity and personal information into the government system, meaning that under Trump’s presidency, they have the fear that their rights will be taken away and be deported back to their country.
If back in 1804, the Sisters of Notre Dame set out their goal to educate the poor and community under God’s divinity, then why should the immigrant community be ignored if they are human beings with dignity, rights, and responsibilities as well? They are human beings who deserve an equal amount of protection too.
You may be wondering what it means to be claimed as a sanctuary. The Sanctuary Movement was a religious and political campaign for Central American refugees and immigrants started by John Fife, a minister of a Presbyterian church. His goal was to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation. Individuals who were a part of the Sanctuary Movement believed that since the church is a holy place, then no one would bother to conflict with the people of the church. This movement has been successful with its goal in the past and has won cases where they’ve helped save immigrants from deportation. This movement has died down over the last few years, but is currently being resurrected by organizations who believe this movement is in dire need because of this election.
Currently, many schools across the nation are petitioning to become a sanctuary campus to provide protection not only for undocumented immigrants, but for all marginalized groups threatened by Donald Trump such as the LGBTQ, Muslim, and disabled communities. Emmanuel College should be one of the schools that petitions for and becomes a sanctuary campus so that the city of Boston and hopefully the state of Massachusetts could become a sanctuary.
What steps will be taken next once Emmanuel has been claimed as a sanctuary? If the students of Emmanuel decide to call for a sanctuary campus, then a petition will be made asking the school to (1) Not assist government efforts to deport undocumented students, families, faculty and staff (2) Withhold from releasing any information of these undocumented individuals to federal immigration officials (3) Provide confidential counseling and legal services for undocumented and marginalized individuals (4) Establish a network of faculty and alumni to offer legal help for all undocumented and marginalized individuals.
If you guys are interested, then please feel free to contact me via email with any questions, concerns or any additional input and opinions. I would definitely love to hear your voices, so that I can have an idea on how to move forward with this issue.