Leaders in the realms of both education and religion are speaking out against the newest immigration policies laid out by President Donald Trump.
The head of the California State University system took steps to ease the growing fear of deportation among college students, telling students to contact campus police should they be approached by immigration officials.
Chancellor Timothy White urged students to ask for help from University Police Departments in a memorandum sent to the CSU community last week. The memo, written in response to new Trump Administration rules regarding immigration enforcement, informed students that while the new immigration policy is complex, the CSU is carefully examining how the federal directives could potentially impact CSU campuses. Although White stated that there is no information indicating that stepped up enforcement will focus on campuses in the CSU system, he asked the community to remain cautious.
“We do advise any member of our CSU community – students, faculty and staff – who is approached while on campus by federal, state or local officials asking for information or documentation regarding immigration status, to immediately contact the University Police Department,” said White in the memo.
White said that campus police would act as a liaison with the on-site officials, and at Stanislaus State, the UPD is prepared and willing to do so.
“We are a university focused on the safety and security of all members of our campus community,” said Stanislaus State UPD Chief Andy Roy, adding that the UPD’s role as a liaison would connect the person calling for assistance and the CSU Office of General Counsel. “We can help coordinate their communication and provide guidance, references and resources for any person who might need them.”
To Roy’s knowledge, immigration officials have not come onto Stanislaus State’s campus to enforce deportation. The enforcement of federal immigration is the responsibility of the federal government, said Roy, and is something that the UPD – who operates under state law – does not have any agreements in place to enforce, despite some erroneous beliefs.
“There may be some misconceptions that local law enforcement is working with ICE,” said Roy. “Rest assured, that is not the case at Stanislaus State.”
With a largely Hispanic population, Roy emphasized the fact that officers at Stanislaus State will never contact or detain any person solely on the basis of their immigration status, nor will they honor immigration hold requests.
“As police officers at Stanislaus State, trust is the foundation to our success,” he said. “We are here to build and maintain trust, which means working closely with our campus partners and maintaining strong relationships with the community we serve.”
Stanislaus State President Ellen Junn also addressed the federal policies on border security and immigration enforcement, sending the campus’ UPD phone number and the names of officers who can help those approached by immigration officials to the campus community in a letter.
“While these recent changes in U.S. federal policies may be unsettling, as a member of our Stan State family, if you notice that someone is under stress, please reach out to them to provide a helping hand and remind them of our campus resources,” said Junn in the letter. “…I want to assure you that Stanislaus State and the CSU will fully support students, faculty and staff who may be impacted. We are a campus that believes in and supports the beauty and power of a safe, warm, welcoming and diverse learning community.”
Leaders of faith have also taken opposition to the deportation of undocumented immigrants.
The California Catholic Conference of Bishops released an Ash Wednesday statement on immigration, calling for those in California to stand in solidarity with the “vulnerable and excluded” in society, especially undocumented immigrants. Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of the Diocese of Stockton was a contributor to the statement, which also expressed concern about the possibility of widespread deportations breaking up families and breaking down communities.
“As pastors, we witness firsthand every day the fear in our communities,” the statement reads. “We call upon the new Administration and Congress in Washington to do everything in their power to ease the climate of fear that is now gripping our communities.”
The Bishops suggest reforms in visa and guest worker programs in the statement, as well as reforms that keep families together and give those detained the legal right of due process.
“We need to provide those who are here and contribute to our economy and society but without documentation an immediate path to regularize their status with an eye to one day becoming citizens,” the Bishops state.