By Da’ Ron Frost
With Donald Trump elected president, many undocumented citizens living in America fear being deported.
But the California State University system stands behind its undocumented students, making the CSU system a “sanctuary space.”
A sanctuary space protects undocumented students who attend a CSU and feel threatened by Trump’s victory.
On Nov. 16, California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White reaffirmed the commitment to promote a learning community safe for the many students who came illegally to the United States.
White said unless forced by law, the Cal States will not enter into agreements with federal departments for enforcement of federal immigration law.
“Our police departments will not honor immigration-hold requests,” White told the the Los Angeles Times. “Our university police do not contact, detain, question or arrest individuals solely on the basis of being … a person that lacks documentation.”
The CSU is the largest public university system in the nation. Around 470,000 students attend one of its 23 campuses.
Its mission remains to provide accessibility to higher education and embrace the diversity of Cal State students, according to White.
Administrators have said an estimated 10,000 students received waivers last fall through Assembly Bill 540, a 2011 state law that exempts certain nonresident students tuition who have attended high school in California and received a high school diploma or the equivalent.
Many of the 23 Cal State campuses, such as Dominguez Hills, are in cities with large populations of undocumented residents.
“The CSU will continue to comply with all federal immigration laws, but the enforcement of those laws is the responsibility of the federal government, not the CSU,” said Elizabeth Chapin, manager of public affairs for CSU. “Absent a legal requirement, the CSU will not enter into agreements with federal authorities to enforce federal immigration and hold requests. The word `sanctuary’ is a confusing term that lacks a universal legal or educational definition and if used could lead to misunderstanding and misplaced reliance.”
White and California State Student Assn. President David Lopez acknowledged in a joint statement last month on how vulnerable students and faculty members were feeling.
“It is our responsibility to hold our political leaders to account, regardless of party,” they said. “To meet that obligation, the California State University and California State Student Assn. will together be leading advocates in advancing the rights of our students, faculty and staff.”
Along with the CSU offering sanctuary protection, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said his officers will not help deport immigrants under Trump. The LAPD has a longstanding practice of distancing themselves from federal immigration polices.