Donald Trump has promised that within his first 100 days in office, he will repeal all of President Obama’s executive actions, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and federal funding for Sanctuary Cities and States. DACA serves to protect undocumented immigrant minors who arrived before the age of 16, and has provided measures of relief from deportation to over 700,000 students in the United States. There is now heightened urgency for colleges and universities to make a commitment to protect these students.
The Middlebury mission statement asserts that Middlebury students engage in “the pursuit of knowledge unconstrained by national or disciplinary boundaries.” We believe that these values will be compromised by President-elect Donald Trump if the college does not take action to become a Sanctuary Campus. In such a space, DACA-mented and undocumented peers are able to remain on campus and focus on their education instead of their fears of being forced to abandon their education and separate from their families.
Sanctuary Cities around the country protect undocumented immigrants from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials. In Vermont around 5,000 members of the undocumented immigrant community are threatened by Trump’s policy plans. As a part of the Vermont community, Middlebury College has a duty to voice support for these individuals. To effect change, the Middlebury community must also stand in solidarity and show support when called upon.
US Customs Enforcement officers are not able to enter college campuses without authorization (policy number 10029.2). Middlebury has the power to protect undocumented community members and students from law enforcement. It is the duty of this College to ensure that it remains a place that actively protects the rights and safety of its community.
We believe that in order for Middlebury to fulfill its mission, it must acknowledge the real threats that DACA-mented and undocumented students face in their education. We ask that the Middlebury College administration take immediate action to become a Sanctuary Campus before January 20th, 2017, the day of President-Elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.
As students at this college, we urge you to affirmatively stand with immigrants who study, live, and work at the college by adopting a public, written policy communicating the following protections according to our vision of a Sanctuary Campus:
- Ensure that student privacy and confidentiality remains guaranteed.- Take immediate action so that DACA-mented and undocumented students can be assured of institutional support towards continuing their academic endeavors and their path to educational success.- The college refuses all voluntary information sharing with ICE/ CBP across all aspects of the college to the fullest extent possible under the law; - The college refuses ICE physical access to all land owned or controlled by the college;- The college prohibits campus security from inquiring about or recording as to an individual’s immigration status or enforcing immigration laws or participating with ICE/ CBP in actions; - The college commits to ongoing dialogue with the students about additions to the college policy and support for community efforts that protect immigrants who study, live, and work at the college and their families and the community.
**These terms shall be enforced by all college staff and all contractors and subcontractors and their employees working on property owned or controlled by the college.
If we stay silent, then our stated commitments to diversity, justice, and inclusion will become empty promises and hypocritical lies. This is not a time for silence.
Middlebury College students, faculty, staff and community members