With heightening tension around immigration enforcement swirling around communities across the country, Humboldt State University and the California State University (CSU) system promises lawful resistance against enforcement on its campuses.
Recent Memoranda Issued by Homeland Security
On Feb. 21, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly spelled out recent executive orders on the topic of immigration law enforcement:
- 10 thousand Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and 5 thousand Border Patrol agents to be hired.
- Undocumented criminals will be a higher priority for deportation. This includes those with “any criminal offense, or those who have abused any public welfare program,” according to The Washington Times.
- The 287(g) program will be expanded more widely than it was under Obama, allowing state and local authorities to act as immigration agents.
- The “catch-and-release” policy–which gave detained “low-risk” undocumented people release while waiting for a hearing with an immigration judge–will be abolished, making for immediate deportation.
Despite a push for increasing border security, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which protects people who came to the U.S. as children from being deported, is not affected.
CSU Chancellor Timothy White Makes a Statement
Timothy White, chancellor of the CSU system, drafted an email telling the university community to rest assured: unless required by law, the CSU will not comply with Trump’s executive orders to enforce federal immigration laws.
“Our university police departments will not honor immigrant hold requests, and our university police will not contact, detain, question, or arrest individuals solely on the basis of being–or suspected of being–a person who lacks documentation,” White stated.
HSU Police Department Chief Takes a Stand
University Police Department (UPD) has a very clear set of actions that resist ICE intentions and comply strongly with White’s message. Chief of Police Donn Peterson stated that under his leadership, UPD will not be cooperating with or enforcing matters of immigration status on campus.
“We’re not doing anything on campus that has anything to do with customs or immigration enforcement, nor are we cooperating with federal authorities, nor are they doing any operations, nor are they allowed to.”
In line with Chancellor White’s promise, Chief Peterson heads the department with a standard that values and understands student lives. He aims to create and maintain an environment where students can focus on their studies comfortably and safely.
“We’re not going to have an environment on campus, on my watch, where people are afraid to come forward because of their immigration status or the immigration status of a family member,” Chief Peterson said. “We want people to feel free to be in a safe environment, learn, and get their degrees. They should not have to deal with all the nonsense of having to live undercover in the shadows and not being able to be apart of this community. We’re not going to have that.”
A Comment From President Rossbacher
When given the opportunity to voice a comment to the community, President Lisa Rossbacher had her secretary e-mail this quote:
“Higher education is an opportunity that should be open to everyone. As part of the California State University, Humboldt State supports all of our students and their dreams of getting a college education.”