Last week, President Trump’s Executive Order to ban travel to the U.S. from citizens of seven different countries has led to protests at international ports all over the nation. In the same order, he put a 120-day ban on the U.S. Refugee Program, which will pause thousands of immigrants’ benefits and puts others at risk of losing work and student visas.
This order, as well as Trump’s changes to border policy, have made undocumented students at many colleges feel unsafe, calling for colleges to declare themselves a “sanctuary campus” to protect their undocumented students by prioritizing them over Trump’s new policies. This has led to several different states’ legislators proposing to cut funding to these self-proclaimed sanctuary campuses.
A sanctuary campus is the idea that school campuses should be a place where students feel safe. Although Whatcom has not gone as far as to declare our campus a sanctuary, it is important for all to make a basic effort to be sensitive toward one another in these times of uncertainty.
Trump’s rhetoric throughout his campaign was filled with mass-deportation claims. He has changed the deportation policy that immigration enforcement agencies have been practicing since Obama reinstated the policy last year. In Trump’s first month in office, he banned allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S. until “significant changes were made.” Trump’s supporters are putting pressure on him to address mass-deportation early in his term, saying that he is not doing enough to limit immigration.
Among the programs that could possibly to affected by Trumps mass deportation agenda is DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals started by Obama in 2012.
During Trump’s campaign, he called DACA illegal and said that the Obama administration was too lenient on undocumented immigrants. Last year, Trump pledged to end DACA but has not taken action against the program yet. If the DACA program is discontinued, many undocumented students who attend Whatcom and other Washington colleges will have to find other ways of continuing their education in the U.S.
As tolerance and patience seem to be running low by a nation growing further divided, it is imperative that communities recognize the decisions made by the country’s leaders do not need to change our day-to-day actions.