Columbia pledges to shelter illegal immigrants from Trump

Toni Airaksinen
Columnist at PJ Media

  • Columbia University has caved to demands for a “sanctuary campus,” saying it will protect illegal immigrants from customs officials and work to bolster their financial aid.
  • Following two student petitions, Provost John Coatsworth reassured students that Columbia would not cooperate with the incoming Trump administration.
  • Columbia University has caved to demands for a “sanctuary campus,” saying it will protect illegal immigrants from customs officials and work to bolster their financial aid.

    “The presidential election has prompted intense concern for the values we hold dear and for members of our community who are apprehensive about what the future holds,” Provost John Coatsworth wrote in a campus-wide email.

    “[When] we saw the election results, we knew immediately that they (students) were in danger.”   

    He went on to declare that his “university will neither allow immigration officials on our campus without a warrant, nor share information on the immigration status of undocumented students with those officials unless required by subpoena or court order.”

    [RELATED: MAP: Schools cave to ‘sanctuary campus’ demands]

    Moreover, Coatsworth pledged to protect students who have obtained a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status from losing employment opportunities, noting that if such an outcome were to occur, his school would develop a financial aid package as compensation.

    “This is a moment for us to bear in mind how important it is to protect all who study and teach in our community and to defend the institution and the values it embodies” he concluded.

    Coatsworth’s declaration comes on the heels of a national protest effort to convert college campuses into sanctuaries for illegal immigrants, with students on more than 100 campuses participating in walkouts to help popularize the movement.

    [RELATED: National walkout seeks ‘sanctuary’ for illegal immigrants]

    At Columbia alone, students and faculty circulated two petitions calling on the school’s administration to do more to protect illegal immigrants attending the elite institution.

    The first called upon the school to ban immigration enforcement officials from campus, while the second demanded more financial aid for illegal immigrants—both of which demands were immediately accepted by the administration.

    Professor Mae Ngai, one of the authors of the second petition, told Campus Reform that when “we saw the election results, we knew immediately that they (students) were in danger,” noting that they “could face problems very soon,” since “Trump had promised to cancel DACA on day one.”

    [RELATED: ‘Sanctuary campus’ leaders admit that colleges can’t ban ICE]

    “The Provost's statement yesterday was very strong in affirming Columbia's commitment to inclusion and diversity, and to our DACA students in particular,” she added, saying, “we will continue to work with the University on the implementation.”

    Indeed, one undocumented student attending Columbia, Miguel Tapia Colin, explained to Campus Reform that he was relieved with the administrative response.

    “The potential revoke of DACA is very concerning,” he said, noting that while the school’s response was “a great initial first step, there could be more done.

    “The response was very well worded, and I’m pretty content with that,” he continued. “Everything we’re discussing right now is out of fear, it could just happen that nothing happens at all.”

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    Toni Airaksinen

    Toni Airaksinen

    Columnist at PJ Media
    Toni Airaksinen is Columnist at PJ Media and a Consultant at Youth Radio. She was previously a New Jersey Campus Correspondent, reporting on liberal bias and abuse for Campus Reform with a focus on Title IX, the OCR, and the First Amendment. During college, she also was a columnist for Quillette and The Columbia Spectator. Her exclusives have been featured on FOX News and The Drudge Report. She graduated from Barnard College in 2018.
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