By AMBER AINSWORTH, Editor-in-Chief
Following a new immigration policy from President Donald Trump, the University of Michigan reinforced its commitment to student safety and success.
On Friday, Trump signed an executive order barring citizens of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia from entering the United States for at least 90 days.
The order prompted multiple responses from the university regarding international and immigrant students. On Saturday, U-M President Mark Schlissel issued a statement of support.
“The leadership of the university is committed to protecting the rights and opportunities currently available to all members of our academic community,” Schlissel’s announcement said.
“Fostering an environment that promotes education and research at the highest levels is among my most important responsibilities as the University of Michigan President,” Schlissel wrote.
“I am absolutely inspired by President Schlissel’s strong commitment to protect students of all statuses and backgrounds,” said Fiana Arbab, University of Michigan-Dearborn Student Government president.
The statement included the university’s “long-standing positions on non-discrimination, privacy and public safety.” Students and faculty were reminded that the university does not share immigration status or other sensitive information. Such information, according to the statement, is only provided when required by law.
The statement also noted “campus police will not partner with federal, state, or other local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration law except when required to do so by law.”
A second announcement from the university included recommendations to international members of the U-M community regarding travel outside the U.S.
Sunday, UM-Dearborn students received an email highlighting Schlissel’s statement.
“The University of Michigan-Dearborn welcomes and values the international members of our community,” UM-Dearborn Chancellor Daniel Little wrote in the email, “and we will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that their engagement at the university is as rewarding, inclusive, and unburdened as possible.”
“Every student in the U-M system deserves equitable education,” Arbab said, “and I think the stance taken by U of M to protect students from undue harm and injustice is a shining example of how an institution can—and should—protect the rights of its stakeholders.”
Safety has been a primary concern of many at UM-Dearborn. In November, members of the UM-Dearborn community participated in an #OurCampus Walkout. According to the event page for the walkout, student safety was a focus of the march.
Little’s email said President Schlissel created an Immigration Policy Committee. The committee will assist problem-solving related to issues of immigration and international education, as well as provide advice to university leadership. Professor Sally Howell represents UM-Dearborn on the committee.
The university’s efforts are in collaboration with the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.
According to Schlissel’s statement, the university has signed a letter supporting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) order. Signed by former President Barack Obama in 2012, DACA allows certain undocumented immigrants that arrived in the U.S. as minors to be able to obtain a work permit and a renewable two-year period of deferred deportation
The university also supports the Bar Removal of Individuals Who Dream and Grow Our Economy Act. The BRIDGE Act would allow those who have received relief from or are eligible for DACA to get permission from the government to remain in the country for a three year period.
“We shall remain diligent in maintaining our longstanding, consistent approach,” according to the university’s website. “This includes understanding that international students, scholars and faculty, as well as undocumented and DACA students, continue to be protected by the same privacy laws and university policies as U.S. citizens.”
While none of the three U-M campuses are declared sanctuary campuses, the university ensures student safety is a top priority.
According to the university’s Public Affairs and Internal Communications website, “there is no common definition of a sanctuary city or campus. The university is committed to protecting student privacy, to assuring student safety and to supporting student success.”
For more information about the university’s stance on undocumented students and additional resources, visit publicaffairs.vpcomm.umich.edu/undocumented-students-at-u-m.