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Embracing sanctuary policies

(EN Photo / Zack Rothman)

Imagine drug gangs have laid waste to your town, burning down houses and killing people in the street.

Now imagine you’re only 7-years-old — completely helpless without your parents.

They say it’s no longer safe in Mexico and decide to flee the violence for a better life in America.

You’ve now lived through trauma, been uprooted from your home and are in a foreign land.

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Not even a year later, just as you start to settle into your new life, your parents are forcibly removed from your home right in front of your eyes.

Under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a policy passed by the Obama administration, as a minor, you have been presented with two options: stay in America or return to gang brutality.

Now fast-forward; because of DACA, you’ve been granted legal status and are attending college. Having otherwise not been able to get a higher education, you busted your butt all throughout high school to earn scholarships.

You’ve been in the same classes as your American friends since second grade; you took the same civics courses as them; and followed the same laws they did.

However, President Donald Trump just took office. He ran on the premise of abolishing DACA, which would revoke your legal status and seize your scholarship funding.

Despite the fact that Trump reneged on this campaign promise (yet again), he has still threatened to withhold funding from institutions embracing sanctuary policies.

It is very safe to say that there is both practical and philosophical justification as to why FGCU should become a sanctuary campus.

Not only would making FGCU a sanctuary campus ensure that hard-working, law-abiding individuals are able to receive a college degree, it protects natural-born citizens by enabling undocumented individuals to report crimes without fear of being deported, thus protecting an even larger portion of the community.

There seems to be a misconception that a sanctuary city or campus somehow protects undocumented immigrants from the law; however, the exact opposite is true.

Police are still able to arrest and detain these individuals for crimes they commit.

All the sanctuary policy does is allow the local entity to refuse to communicate with the federal government, particularly Immigration Customs Enforcement or the Department of Homeland Security, to avoid having that person deported — the police can still put him or her in prison.

Despite FGCU becoming a sanctuary campus, undocumented individuals would still be vulnerable to deportation outside its premises, or rather any land without sanctuary status. That being said, becoming a sanctuary campus may not offer much jurisdictional protection. However, this is what progress looks like. In order to illicit change on a large scale, communities and factions of people must standup for what they believe is right.

While launching his campaign in 2015, Trump said, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

To me, this is an entirely un-American ideal. Engraved on the Statue of Liberty — the entrance of our nation — is a poem that reads,

“Give me your tired, your poor,

your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Conservative opposition to having a sanctuary policy at FGCU is completely ironic. The only argument Republicans can make without sounding racist is that adopting sanctuary policies will cause the university to lose funding.

What’s comical about this is that the only reason there’s a chance of losing money in the first place is because of a Republican president threatening to do so.

The entire quagmire of potentially losing funding was literally created and perpetuated by conservative ideology.

If the College Republicans were truly concerned about the university losing funding, then maybe they should focus on passing legislation that curbs our embarrassingly low graduation rate, which is the third worst in Florida, and help put an end to a potentially catastrophic  snowball effect.

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