Dec. 20, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan
Assemblyman Francisco Moya is calling for all SUNY and CUNY schools to become “sanctuary campuses” as a means to protect undocumented students from deportation.
The sanctuary campus system, Moya said last week, would prohibit schools from sharing confidential information about students such as a home address with any federal agencies. The idea is similar to how cities throughout the country, including New York City, have declared themselves “sanctuary cities,” prohibiting federal authorities from deporting immigrants from within the city’s jurisdiction.
“A student should never be afraid to pursue a higher education out of fear that it may leave them vulnerable to deportation. To allow an atmosphere in which students are hesitant to enroll in a university or attend their classes contradicts our values as a state of immigrants, it undermines the integrity of our academic bodies,” Moya said.
Moya suggested that SUNY and CUNY schools create a strict code that prohibits all university faculty, administrators and staff from assisting federal authorities to deport students in any way, including sharing information.
“SUNY and CUNY schools must adopt discretion policies and become ‘sanctuary campuses’ so they can never be compelled to divulge information that could put their own students and staff at risk. Sanctuary campuses are a very powerful metaphor that expresses both legal protections and reprieve from danger. A student’s immigration status should never be an obstacle in their path to a degree and a better life,” he added.
Throughout the country, students have rallied and organized to encourage universities to become sanctuary schools, including in New York where CUNY DREAMers have rallied for the same cause. The American Association of University Professors came out in support of the program in November.