Students petition UTSA to become ‘sanctuary campus’

Gaige Davila

The Immigrant Youth Leadership organization (IYL) has created a petition to establish UTSA as a ‘sanctuary campus’.

A ‘sanctuary campus’ is loosely defined as a college or university that does not voluntarily assist in deportation efforts with federal authorities.

The petition, addressed to UTSA President Ricardo Romo and UT System Chancellor William McRaven, comes in response to President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to abolish the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

DACA is an immigration policy that allows undocumented immigrants—who entered the U.S. before their 16th birthday and before June 2007—to receive a renewable two-year work permit and deportation exemption.

The petition requests UTSA’s refusal to release information regarding the immigration status of its students and community members; meetings between UTSA administration and the IYL, which consists primarily of DACA students; creation of an office and administration specific to assisting DACA students; the guarantee of in-state tuition to DACA students; and de-escalation training for all faculty and staff.

“As a sanctuary campus we can sharpen our tools and gather against the possibility of allowing Trump to impinge his xenophobic and racist regime,” UTSA alumna and migrant student Itzel Corona, said.

“If and when the time comes that Trump presents federal orders against the safety and potential detention of our Muslim and undocumented students, then we have to be prepared to protect and stand in solidarity with them.”

Activists in cities and campuses across the nation are pushing for similar sanctuary city designation. Although San Antonio is not a sanctuary city, San Antonio Police Department does not inquire about immigration or citizenship status during arrest—a policy that was unofficially followed until it was implemented into the SAPD policing manual in late 2015.
The petition currently has over 130 signatures from UTSA students, alumni, faculty and staff. To sign the petition click here: