Protesters to call on Wayne State to become a sanctuary campus

A recent protest at Wayne State University over Trump’s travel ban. Photo by Steve Neavling.

President Trump’s controversial crackdown on refugees, Muslims and undocumented immigrants may endanger tens of millions of college students.

At noon Thursday, protesters will gather at Wayne State University to place pressure on the administration to declare the college a “sanctuary campus” to protect students who are in danger of deportation. Supporters want President M. Roy Wilson and the Board of Governors to institute university-sanctioned protections from Trump’s proposed immigration policies. That includes refusing to work with federal immigration officials who want to deport students or put Muslims on a registry.

WSU President M. Roy Wilson

So far, Wilson and the board have balked at making the university a sanctuary campus because Trump has threatened to pull federal funding for cities and universities that protect undocumented immigrants.

The protest is organized by a newly formed Iranian student group and By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), a social activism group. Both groups will be circulating petitions.

The rally will be at the David Adamany Undergraduate Library. Students and the public are urged to participate.

Here is BAMN’s petition:

Immigration is the question of the day everywhere in the world. The globalized economy, free trade measures, global warming, and the foreign policies of stronger powers exploiting poorer nations – these factors have combined to create one of the most massive relocations of humanity across national borders in all of world history.

This worldwide mass migration is ongoing, and is profoundly transforming the appearance of many nations, including the U.S. Yet, as we become a majority-minority nation, enlarged by the continuous waves of immigrants from all over the world, especially from Mexico and Central America, there has not been a corresponding increase in the rights and status of racial and ethnic minorities.

The State of Michigan is a historic place of refuge for immigrants from all over the world; including the world’s largest Arab and Muslim population outside of the Middle east and a fast-growing Latina/o community.

Correspondingly, Wayne State University is a diverse, multicultural, and international campus community with students from over 65 countries around the globe. We are the most diverse university in the state of Michigan. As such, Wayne State University must declare itself a sanctuary campus for all immigrant students and refuse to work with ICE in order to protect undocumented students from deportation and Muslim and International students from a national registry.

From New York, to Chicago, to Boston, to San Francisco, to Seattle, approximately 300 American cities have declared themselves to be sanctuaries for immigrants. Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley recently stated that their city’s status as a sanctuary city was a ‘badge of honor.’ About 28 universities have declared themselves to be sanctuary campuses. Wayne State must be among them.

In addition, Wayne State University must work diligently to protect the first targets of the Trump regime who are likely to be immigrants for whom the government already has records: Muslim immigrants with student and work visas, and the 750,000 youth who enrolled in Obama’s programs, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

The DACA program has offered protection to the many youth who were brought to America as small children, have grown up as Americans, and whose only home is in America. The youth enrolled in DACA have broken no laws – a child cannot be held responsible for the decision of their parents to cross the border – but they are now one of the most vulnerable groups of American immigrants simply because they gave their information to the government.

More than 600 college and university presidents from public and private institutions across the U.S. have signed the ‘Statement in Support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program and our Undocumented Immigrant Students.’ Wayne State, as an international campus community must declare its support for the DACA program, sign on to the statement and shield students who have DACA from possible deportation.

Therefore we the undersigned call on:
The Board of Governors, the Wayne State Faculty, the Wayne State Student Senate and all members of the Wayne State University community to become part of the national movement and join the universities and colleges and communities around the nation in declaring Wayne State University sanctuary campus for ALL immigrants, as well as shielding undocumented immigrant students from immigration raids and the threat of deportation, international and Muslim students from registry, and will not cooperate or collaborate with Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).”

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.