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UNM as Sanctuary Campus?

UNM as Sanctuary Campus?

2011 Homeland Security memo calls college campuses 'sensitive locations'


Nearly a thousand University of New Mexico faculty have called on UNM President Bob Frank to declare UNM a sanctuary campus and prohibit Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers from arresting undocumented immigrants there.

The letter comes a week and two days after the U.S. elected as President Donald Trump, who has vowed to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico and deport undocumented immigrants, many of whom he called “murderers and rapists.”

In the letter, the faculty members cite a provision in a 2011 memo by then-Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano that limits ICE enforcement on college campuses.

The faculty letter reads:

“Consistent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy indicated in its October 24, 2011 memo, UNM is designated as a “sensitive location” and ICE must refrain from entering its campus for the purpose of immigration enforcement actions, except under extraordinary circumstances. UNM understands that the 2011 ICE policy of presumptive non-entry applies to educational and religious institutions, hospitals, and sites of public demonstrations as well.

“This policy puts the university in a unique position, which it should use to protect undocumented community members from immigration enforcement. It is the duty of this university to ensure that it remains a place that actively protects the rights and safety of ALL members of the UNM community. To borrow the language of the University, ‘Let’s protect the pack.’”

The letters continues, requesting that Frank acknowledge that “the University be committed to protecting members of its community from unfair deportation, investigation, or other forms of intimidation. In addition, as we envision a safe future for our campus community, our campus must not exclude students from other local campuses, members of our city, and the broader community.”


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Ashley Kurtz is a freelance theater critic.

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