Calls to make DU a sanctuary campus

“If my university were to become a sanctuary campus, it would reaffirm that I matter on this campus and it would show future generations that they matter too.” — Fryda Faugier Ferreira, a DACA student at DU.

Many people are concerned about the future of immigration under a Trump administration.  Students who availed of the DACA program are concerned about their future.  The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is a  policy started by the Obama administration in June 2012  and it allows certain undocumented immigrants, who entered the country as minors, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility to work.

To support DACA students and other undocumented immigrants, a national movement has emerged where sanctuary communities are being created and college campuses are declaring themselves as sanctuary spaces. There’s an action  happening at DU on Thursday January 19th to urge the chancellor to take formal action and declare DU a sanctuary campus. Fryda Faugier Ferreira, a DACA student at DU says Thursday’s action is a way to show students like her that the university has their back.

“With the new president I am at risk of losing the ability to continue my education and work. And I worked so hard to be here and I would be losing everything that I ever worked for. So not only am I a DACA student, I’m also a first-generation student, and getting to college wasn’t easy for me. And I’ve had friends who have had it a lot worse, they’ve lost their families, and they’re still here working and getting an education. You know, I’ve been really lucky to have so much support from my professors, my mentors, advisors, friends and family, and DU itself. If my university were to become a sanctuary campus, it would reaffirm that I matter on this campus and it would show future generations that they matter too. And that DU wants them on this campus.”

Nearly 1000 members of the DU community signed a sanctuary campus petition circulated in the weeks after the election. Faugier Ferreira says that on December 29, 2016, a letter was sent Chancellor Chopp outlining steps that the university could take to be a sanctuary campus.

“We just want to know more specifics of how specifically, you know, with the new president a lot of students, a lot of DACA students, are going to lose the ability to work if he does terminate DACA, and so financially what is the chancellor planning on doing? Will they amp up financial aid? Is there going to be anything to help these students? And then we also kind of want a task force to be on set so it’s not necessarily just an administration doing this. We also have a task force that would help, be able to help solve issues, kind of talk about it. So that way, the more the community is involved in these decisions.”

Last week Chancellor Chopp sent a letter to the DU community expressing the university’s intention after the inauguration to “stand strong in its commitment to protect and support all members of our community.” Sanctuary campus advocates responded with their own letter and say they hope to see more clearly articulated plans put in place.

Sanctuary campus activists will march and meet with Chancellor Chopp on Thursday January 19th starting at 3pm at the Free Speech Wall (next to Driscoll Student Center, DU campus.)
The national sanctuary campus movement has won commitments from roughly twenty campus administrations across the country.