Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Students at Amherst College in Massachusetts stage a demonstration to make their university a sanctuary campus. (Photo: AC Sanctuary Campus/Twitter)

#SanctuaryCampus Campaign Spreads as 28 Schools Vow to Protect Students

Immigrant-led movement calls for universities to make campuses safe for undocumented students at risk of deportation

Nadia Prupis

The movement to make college campuses into sanctuaries for undocumented students is growing, with walkouts and sit-ins taking place around the country on Thursday.

Students and faculty in Massachusetts, New York, Texas, and Washington state held protests to support the #SanctuaryCampus movement, asking their universities to refuse voluntary information sharing with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), block the agency's access to any private university land, and prohibit discrimination against any students without documentation. At least 28 schools have agreed to become sanctuary campuses since protests began last month.

President-elect Donald Trump has promised to deport 2-3 million immigrants in his first 100 days in office, and his national security adviser Kris Kobach has said the administration would hit the ground running to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall. Meanwhile, hate watch groups reported an escalation in crimes against minorities in the weeks after the election. The #SanctuaryCampus movement, organized in large part by the immigrant advocacy organization Movimiento Cosecha (Harvest Movement), is a response to what many see as an imminent threat to their fellow students' safety.

"I have no illusions about the danger a Trump administration presents immigrants, and I'm walking out with my classmates because our universities have a moral responsibility to ensure all students and campus workers are shielded from the threat of deportation," said Miriam Zamudio, an undocumented student at Rutgers New Brunswick.

"Even though Trump threatens to tear our communities apart, I know that by standing together we can form a circle of safety and protection for immigrants in our country," Zamudio said. "With #SanctuaryCampus we're demanding universities pick which side they're on. Do they want to protect our classmates and our communities, or let Trump normalize deportations and hate crimes?"

Trump will also have the power to repeal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a law that gives temporary protection and work permits to undocumented immigrants who were brought the country as children. DACA was put into place after campaigning by young activists known as Dreamers, a reference to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, a proposal to grant conditional residency to undocumented youth. In coming weeks, high school students are also expected to join the campaign.

Thais Marquez, an undocumented student and organizer with Movimiento Cosecha, said, "Immigrant youth who had a dream fought for and won DACA against all odds, and our communities won't be intimidated by Trump even as he threatens to take it away."

The #SanctuaryCampus campaign is also asking American citizens to recognize that the U.S. economy relies on immigrant labor "and that all Americans have the ability to draw a line in the sand and stand up against scapegoating and dangerous policies in our universities, our churches, our community centers, and everywhere else in America," Movimiento Cosecha said.

Marquez continued, "We're calling on our classmates and our neighbors to stand for what's right and grow a network of support for immigrants on our campuses and beyond. Millions of immigrants do crucial work that makes the American economy run, and we need the support of our country's churches, community centers, and homes as places of sanctuary against deportation too."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

US Urged to End Drone Strikes After Pentagon Says Killing 10 Afghan Civilians Was 'Horrible Mistake'

"That was not a 'mistake,'" said journalist Anand Giridharadas. "War crimes are not oopsies."

Brett Wilkins ·

40+ NYC Activists Arrested for Protests Against Banks Fueling Climate Emergency

"We're sending a message loud and clear that the little action that politicians and greenwashing CEOs have taken so far does not begin to deal with the magnitude of this crisis."

Jessica Corbett ·

FDA Panel Recommends Pfizer Booster Shots for People 65+ and Especially Vulnerable

The scientific advisory committee voted down a recommendation for other adults.

Common Dreams staff ·

'What Betrayal Looks Like': UN Report Says World on Track for 2.7°C of Warming by 2100

"Whatever our so-called 'leaders' are doing," said Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, "they are doing it wrong."

Jake Johnson ·

Critics Warn Biden That 30% Methane Reduction by 2030 Not Good Enough

Following the new U.S.-E.U. pledge, climate campaigners called for an urgent end to fossil fuel extraction and major reforms of agricultural practices.

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo