Yale Daily News

Since Thursday, more than 2,300 students and faculty members have signed a letter asking the University to declare the campus a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants.

The letter — penned two days after Donald Trump won the presidential election — urges Yale to protect undocumented students, staff members and their family members. While there is no legal definition of a sanctuary area, colleges and municipalities are considered sanctuaries when they enact policies or laws limiting the power of local law enforcement to assist the federal government in immigration proceedings. New Haven and Hartford — both considered sanctuary cities — forbid the collection of immigration data by local police and city agencies, while not reporting any undocumented immigrants to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Many of the letter’s signatories told the News they feared the president-elect might enact forced deportations and they hoped Yale would stand up for undocumented immigrants.

“[Since I am a] son of undocumented parents and the friend of students with similar circumstances, the election results affected my community and my family personally, making me fear for the physical safety of my loved ones,” said Jose Lopez ’18, who signed the letter.

Lopez added that he sometimes feels helpless knowing there is nothing he can personally do to prevent deportation. Still, he expressed his willingness to take action toward making Yale a sanctuary campus, in addition to signing the letter.

Were Yale to declare itself a sanctuary campus, it would signal lack of cooperation with Border Patrol agents and with ICE. According to the letter, becoming a sanctuary would prohibit the New Haven Police Department and ICE from removing any undocumented immigrants from Yale’s campus.

The move to turn campuses into sanctuaries dates backs several years. Sanctuary initiatives have cropped up on campuses including the University of California, Berkeley; University of California, San Diego; and the University of Michigan. However, in the wake of Trump’s presidency, these initiatives have gained traction, and similar petitions to the one at Yale have begun at University of Wisconsin-Madison, Brown University and Oberlin College.

“I see no reason to continue policies of criminalization against undocumented immigrants, especially policies that would detain and deport individuals that are making positive contributions to American society,” said Trinh Truong ’19, a signatory of the letter and a Vietnamese refugee. “I think all universities should act as sanctuaries for their students because it is a morally just thing to do. It is a horrifying prospect that policies like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals could be repealed; this would disrupt and uproot the lives of so many students innocently seeking better circumstances for themselves and their families.”

But despite it garnering over 2,000 signatures, not everyone at Yale agrees with the letter. In an interview with the state’s Fox 61 television channel, Mike Ogego ’20, an international student from Kenya, said he thinks Trump will not actually deport people because the president will not have that power.

However, Trump’s plan for his first 100 days in office states that under his administration, more than 2 million undocumented immigrants will be deported. He also plans to cancel federal funding to all sanctuary cities, including Washington, D.C., New York and New Haven.

In addition to the letter at Yale, a similar petition calling for the protection of New Haven’s sanctuary status has circulated in the last week.

“Our policies have not changed and will not change, and we don’t want [undocumented immigrants] to be afraid here in New Haven,” Mayor Toni Harp told NBC Connecticut last week.

Still, some undocumented students at Yale are less concerned about their own lives and more worried about the lives of their families.

“I don’t necessarily feel unsafe on campus among other students,” said Larissa Martinez ’20, whose high school valedictorian speech — in which she revealed her own, and her family’s, undocumented status — went viral last summer. “But my mom is back in Texas, my sister is back in Texas, and I’m more worried about that because what difference does it make if I’m here and they get deported. … It doesn’t matter if I’m here if they’re there.”

Martinez added that it would be amazing if Yale could be a safe haven, not just for its students, faculty and staff, but for their families as well.

According to the Pew Research Center, 2.4 million undocumented immigrants have been deported since President Barack Obama took office, more than any other U.S. president in history.

  • bwayjunction

    It’s a great Roman Catholic tradition. Don’t abuse it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_p8khzyK-E

  • Tim Steele

    “Trump’s plan for his first 100 days in office states that under his administration, more than 2 million undocumented immigrants will be deported.”

    now that’s dishonest journalism. You’ve intentionally left out the fact that the 2-3 million “undocumented immigrants” you’re referring to are those with criminal records. Trump has made that clear in his interviews since the election.

    • asdf

      True. However, Trump should eventually deport all 30 million or so illegal aliens, since they are breaking the law.

      • Dont Askme


  • The Amoral Squirrel

    Quick piece of advice for Jose and Larissa: If you’re afraid your parents and your friends will be kicked out of the country, you probably should not go on record saying how they are in the country illegally.

  • Seattle Sam

    I wonder if it’s occurred to Mr. Lopez that he has just provided a “lead” to ICE once they start enforcing the law again?

    • disqusted

      So Trump gets elected and now ICE gets a cohort of online vigilantes to make threats on their behalf? I wonder if its occurred to you that you are a fascist

      • Young Doctor Yung

        Ha !!!

        Reduced to the use of the word “facist” !!!!

      • Dont Askme

        So respecting the law and expecting other to follow it now makes me a fascist?

        Ok. I can live with that. Get to packing!

  • asdf

    Let me spell it out for you: They. Broke. The. Law.

    I really hope Trump keeps his promise to end sanctuary cities for illegal aliens.

    Also, the notion that more deportations happened under Obama than any other president is a myth; the word “deport” was recently redefined to include the spurious meaning “to turn someone away at the border before they actually cross it.” Obama should have deported millions more than he did.

  • yaleyeah

    Actuallly their natiive countries need the brain-power these students have to offer far more than we do. How about looking at deportation as an opportunity to go to a place where you can make a much bigger difference in the world than here?

    • ldffly

      In 1965, the US passed immigration reform opening the country to immigrants from around the world. In just a few years, South American, Asian and African nations started to complain about their best and brightest leaving for the US. The popular press took up with this phenomenon. They called it the “brain drain.” It was an unintended consequence of the ’65 reform.

  • Boott Spur

    I look forward to seeing how Yale will nullify federal law. Please, do surprise me.

    • ldffly

      Yale certainly has no problem with excusing so many of its policies as necessary to conform with Title IX.

    • disqusted

      Please, plenty of states and municipalities already do this with respect to a number of legal issues.

      • Boott Spur

        The difference is that Yale is a university, not a municipality with sovereign authority over its borders.

  • Dont Askme

    We must immediately start a petition that ANY business, school, City,Town County or state that Harbors illegal aliens can no longer accept any federal or state funding of any type whatsoever. If you are going to spit on US laws then you are not entitled to Federal or state funding

    We also need to make sure that no illegals can get any type of welfare, Medicaid Medicare food stamps housing or anything!

    If you want to harbor criminals then you must pay the price.

    • disqusted

      Universities are already de-facto sanctuaries for underage drinking and drug use. Y’all don’t care about that because it’s a part of the expected college experience, but you’re shocked and appalled that Yale might consider extending the same institutional cushion to valued members of our community?

      • Young Doctor Yung

        “Y’all” ??

      • Dont Askme

        I have ALWAYS been against underage drinking and drug use from ANY age, but thanks for ASSUMING.

        As for institutional cushion….committing a CRIME should never make you a “valued member” of a community. You are here ILLEGALLY. You had every opportunity to come here LEGALLY but CHOSE to break the laws. What other laws are acceptable to break? How about we ignore speed limits because they really don’t save lives, right? How about we ignore robbery laws because you want something and can’t afford it, right? How about we start stabbing, raping, and murdering whomever crosses us because who cares about laws, right? As long as the “valued members” of the community have a “institutional cushion” to sit safely upon.

        EVERY illegal who voted in this election committed a felony, which means they are to be deported immediately. Thank you for lining up with signs saying you are illegal, especially in “safe” areas where no one is allowed to ask if you are legal or not. It will make rounding you up and throwing you out of our country so much easier! Get to packing!

  • thelastindependentYankee

    Thank you Yale. You have made it clear you would not keep my daughter safe. We will not bother to apply.

    • JohnnyBazooka

      Lol yeah I’m sure that’s the reason she won’t be attending

      • Young Doctor Yung

        Learn how to forecheck.

    • disqusted

      Makes no sense. Is this a veiled “Mexicans are rapists” thing? If so, please remove it

  • trumpygrumpy

    I am Pro Trump (yes, I am a female). I was harassed by a YCC rep from Pierson College (and yes, she is a female too). Who is going to protected me? Oh, by the way, later, I found out (I didn’t know who she was when she harassed me) her parents donated millions to Yale (It’s a public record). So, where is my sanctuary?

  • Blargrifth

    New Haven is already a sanctuary city. Yale resides entirely within the border of New Haven. Who would have thought that math would be so hard for some Ivy Leaguers!

  • http://www.fuktos.com Evil Nick

    How nice of you. Considering that since I’ve bought my house in the neighboring town we get that overflow
    ….. Good time good time. You dumb dumb going to let them live in your dorms?