December 1, 2016; Dallas Morning News
As recently reported in Nonprofit Quarterly’s newswire, sanctuary cities (and now universities) are becoming a hot topic, especially since the national elections. The latest at bat is Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who last week declared he would cut funding to state universities if they assert themselves as sanctuary universities for undocumented immigrant students.
Petitions from several state universities, including the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University, have been making the rounds, calling on school administrators to follow the model of sanctuary cities, which prevent police from enforcing immigration laws and cooperating with federal immigration officials. The petitioners are also requesting administrators “guarantee the privacy of students and staff regarding their immigration status, forbid federal immigration officials from entering campus property without a warrant, and encourage services specifically for marginalized groups on campuses.”
Texas State University’s petition, with over 1,000 signatures, is the latest to have made the news. Among other items in the document, it cites hateful events such as:
In the past month, fliers have been posted on the Texas State campus calling for “tar & feather vigilante squads” to “arrest and torture…university leaders.” In addition, a male student was assaulted in a LGBTQIA hate crime just a block from campus.
Abbott’s assertion via Twitter about Texas’ response to sanctuary universities came in the wake of this latest news.
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— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) December 1, 2016
As of now, no specifics to back up this tweet are available. His response, however, is not surprising considering the conservative politician’s prior actions regarding immigrants and refugees. Just two months ago, Abbott pulled out of the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program. And last year, he supported a Texas House Bill threatening to cut funding to cities that make a sanctuary declaration.
But the sanctuary university movement is greater than Texas, just as the city one is. Students and staff from universities around the country are moving to adopt sanctuary status due to President-elect Trump’s remarks during his campaign, promising among other things both to deport millions of undocumented immigrants and end the Obama administration program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which grants some young people in the U.S. without legal residency status a provisional respite from the possibility of being deported to countries most of them don’t know.—Angie Wierzbicki