Hundreds of Stanford University students, faculty and staff members walked out of classrooms and stopped working on Tuesday to protest Donald Trump’s stances on illegal immigration and “Sanctuary Cities” in the United States.
According to SFGATE, those participating in the protest are demanding that the school investigate “the possibility of the South Bay campus serving as a sanctuary against the sort of millions of deportations Trump has said he’ll seek as president.”
Hundreds of people — students, faculty, staff and other supporters — had as of Tuesday evening signed an open letter addressed to President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and Provost John Etchemendy urging the two leaders to “immediately develop a protocol for making itself a sanctuary campus.
President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to cut federal funding to sanctuary cities within his first 100 days in office, meaning San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose could be affected if he follows through on the promise.
They join a growing number of schools calling for sanctuary status, all citing a 2011 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement memo that curtails the ability of federal immigration officials to conduct raids without permission in “sensitive locations,” such as schools.
Sanctuary cities, like San Francisco, have formally adopted policies for local law enforcement limiting their cooperation with federal immigration authorities when it comes to deporting individuals just for being undocumented.
The legal standing of schools to do the same is unclear, and there doesn’t appear to be a precedent.
Lisa Lapin, a spokeswoman for the university said the school does “not know and cannot speculate about what laws or policies may be adopted in the future, or what the impact at Stanford might be.”
While she didn’t blatantly express her stance on the issue she said that “this is a time to reaffirm our commitment to free expression, diversity and inclusion.”
“In a lot of ways, this is a response directly to the election, but it’s not necessarily rooted in reactionary work,” said Lina Khoeur, a junior at Stanford who participated in the walkout. “A lot of the messages that were said today were around support and love and resilience and strength and continuing to move forward regardless of what happens.”
“There’s a demand for Stanford to publicly announce that they are going to be in support of this community and publicly denounce hateful speech and actions around the world,” Khoeur added.
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