Since last week’s presidential election, many in our community have expressed concern about the new administration’s proposals to move toward much more aggressive enforcement of immigration laws. Students and others at Yale and around the country have called for the creation of sanctuary campuses.
Yale’s commitment to its students is long-standing, and I am dedicated to maintaining and strengthening the supports and resources we have in place. We admit students without regard to immigration status, and our financial aid policies assure that no student will be denied an education because of immigration status. These policies will continue.
Yale’s home city of New Haven has adopted practices that are designed to promote the safety of all who live here, regardless of immigration status, and the Yale Police Department has aligned itself with those same procedures. New Haven Police Department (NHPD) policies state clearly that a community member’s undocumented status will have no effect on how the NHPD interacts with that person. As a result, police officers do not inquire about a person’s status unless investigating criminal activity and do not inquire about the immigration status of crime victims, witnesses or others who seek police help. Moreover, the NHPD does not enforce the civil provisions of U.S. immigration law (which are the responsibility of federal immigration officials), and only shares confidential information when required by law.
I have asked Yale Police Chief Ronnell Higgins to review the department’s formal written procedures to make sure they reflect these practices, a request which he wholeheartedly accepts. Any law enforcement agent who wishes to enter our campus is expected first to check in with the Yale Police Department. Further, Yale does not permit access to our campus by law enforcement officers unless they have a search warrant.
The University will continue to provide resources to students, including answers to questions about immigration laws and possible government policy changes as well as access to relevant experts. We are also committed to making sure that our students who face legal action as a result of any changes in the government’s stance on immigration enforcement have legal representation, and the University will provide resources to help those students. Although we hope this need does not present itself, we want our students to know that we will be there for them.
In the coming weeks, we will post a new page on the website of our Office of International Students & Scholars with information and resources for students who may be affected by any changes related to immigration law.
As the grandson of immigrants, I have been an advocate for immigration and immigrant rights from my earliest days. And as a university president, I believe that higher education fosters goodwill toward the United States internationally. It is, without a doubt, the ideal way to bring to this nation new Americans who will contribute tremendously to our society.
Immigrants and international students are part of the lifeblood of this University. They add to our faculty, our student body and our staff diverse perspectives that enrich the dialogue across our campus. This is great for all of our students and for all of our community. This is great for America.
Peter Salovey is the president of Yale University. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org .