Universities begin to declare themselves ‘sanctuary campuses’

A growing “sanctuary campus” movement has attracted the support of college faculty and administrators who are urging their elected officials to uphold President Obama’s lax immigration policies.

David Oxtoby, the president of the Pomona College system, for instance, penned a letter to our “country’s leaders” asking for their support in upholding Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

As of Monday, nearly 100 college and university presidents had added their signatures to the letter.

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

“Since the advent of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012, we have seen the critical benefits of his programs for our students and the highly positive impacts on our institutions and communities,” the letter begins, arguing that students under Obama’s DACA program are “actively contributing to their local communities and economies.”

Oxtoby goes on to suggest that “DACA should be upheld, continued,” and even “expanded,” calling such measures a “moral imperative and a national necessity.”

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

“America needs talent—and these students, who have been raised and educated in the United States, are already part of our national community,” Oxtoby continues, adding that students who migrated to the country illegally “represent what is best about America.”

Notably, the statement has been signed by the presidents of six out of the eight elite Ivy League universities—only Columbia and Cornell are not represented—as well as the president of Occidental College, President Obama’s alma mater.

A group of faculty members at Linfield College are calling on their school’s president (who has yet to sign the letter) to fall in line, citing Oxtoby as their inspiration.

“We, the undersigned faculty call on the administration to take appropriate action to protect those in our community who are especially vulnerable or uncertain as a result of the rhetoric, appointments, and policy proposals of the President-elect,” their letter states, before presenting the school’s president with a list of recommendations to help protect illegal immigrants from a Trump presidency.

Among the recommendations are calls to declare Linfield a “sanctuary campus,” meaning illegal immigrants would be provided “sanctuary from unfair deportation,” as well as a demand for the establishment of a “harassment response team.”

Similarly, the Faculty Senate out of Drake University has passed a resolution in favor of converting the school into a sanctuary campus, announcing its decision in a campus-wide email obtained by Campus Reform.

“As you know, yesterday the Faculty Senate adopted the resolution regarding protection of members of the Drake community, regardless of their immigration status,” the email states before providing a copy of the resolution, which “urges the executive administration of Drake University to declare the university a sanctuary for undocumented members of the Drake community and to affirm [their] commitment to protect immigrants from unfair deportation.”

The presidents of at least two institutions, Portland State University and Reed College, have already declared their campuses to be a “sanctuary” for illegal immigrants in attendance.

“We as a community share a commitment to the protection and support of all of our students, regardless of immigration status, national origin, religion, or any similar characteristics,” PSU’s president Wim Wiewel wrote in an email. “Therefore, we declare that Portland State University is a sanctuary campus dedicated to the principles of equity, diversity, and safety.”

The president of Reed College, another school in the apparent sanctuary city of Portland, also deemed his institution “a sanctuary college for the purposes of immigration.”

“As you may know, Portland is a sanctuary city and Multnomah is a sanctuary county. We’re proud of that fact,” President John Kroger concluded. “If for some reason that designation changes, it will not alter our policy.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski