Campus ensures to protect immigrant students


An infographic explaining the number of colleges showing support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which includes the support from President Steve. Bahls. Designed by LuAnna Gerdemann.

Students and faculty gathered together to form a proposal ensuring the safety of Augustana’s undocumented immigrant population, and have pushed for the college to declare itself as a sanctuary campus for everyone.
“The proposal is part of a larger movement including colleges from around the country that are asking administrations to do a couple of different things,” Dr. Chrisotopher Strunk said, who was involved in the process of forming the proposal, along with other faculty members.
Strunk stressed the different levels the proposal would hit, making it a symbolic statement ensuring the protection of undocumented students on campus, as well as a number of practical measures asking administration not to share information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
President Steven Bahls was one of hundreds of college presidents who signed in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in November which  in turn showed his support for the college’s undocumented immigrant students.
Since Donald Trump’s presidential victory, a number of cities have reaffirmed sanctuary policies and going against the president-elect’s deportation agenda. Some of these cities include San Francisco, Oakland, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and many others. Over 400 colleges have signed petitions making their campuses a more inclusive space for its students with its open support of DACA.
“I was relieved that we have professors who were being proactive and coming up with a plan just in case the worst happened,” junior Lizandra Gomez-Ramirez said in an email. Gomez-Ramirez admitted that having the proposal solidified the reality of a Trump Presidency for her, which was something she is necessarily not prepared for.
DACA is likely to be repealed when president-elect Trump takes office in January, which will take away the protection undocumented immigrants, those who were brought into this country by their parents at a young age, had under the Obama Administration.
“I would say that the majority of of the [Augustana] campus is not directly affected by immigration status issues in their private lives so when they hear about undocumented students, they make it an ‘other’ problem,” Gomez-Ramirez said.
Strunk and Gomez-Ramirez, along with other faculty and students, met with the administration on Nov. 23 to discuss the proposal and what the college can do in support for all of the student population.
Strunk hopes to support the efforts made from this proposal to the efforts of other vulnerable groups on campus “that may be directly attacked by the coming policies that are likely to come out of the next administration,” and not just with undocumented students.