College students fear deportation or loss of rights

Close icon Shopping Cart icon DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer​ Swarthmore College students and faculty join a national walk out in support of undocumented students who qualify for the deferred action plan that President-elect Trump says he will eliminate. About 80 schools and universities walked out of class to support #SanctuaryCampus last week. When she was a child, Carimer Andujar remembers, federal immigration agents searched her neighborhood in Passaic. That was the first time that Andujar realized her immigration status made her vulnerable. Now a 21-year-old engineering student at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Andujar worries about agents staging a raid on campus. The prospect of an immigration overhaul under incoming President Donald Trump is stoking fears with immigrants such as Andujar, who is part of a program started by President Obama that has deferred the threat of deportation for undocumented young people and allowed them to work legally. She is among the students across the country who took part in "sanctuary campus" protests last week, calling on colleges to protect immigrants by refusing to share information with federal authorities and barring immigration enforcement officials from entering campuses. College campuses have traditionally been low priorities for immigration enforcement. "It's like sending in the National Guard for jaywalkers," said Michael Olivas, acting president at the University of Houston-Downtown and a longtime immigration law professor. Although "that doesn't mean they're off limits," Olivas said, declaring a school a "sanctuary" wouldn't make a difference. "There is no such thing as a sanctuary. It's not a legal term." Protesters say they want colleges to take a stand, including by backing the continuation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Created by an Obama executive order, DACA could be rescinded by Trump. Without it, many young immigrants would lose not only a sense of security, but driver's licenses and work permits - making it more difficult to attend college. In New Jersey, undocumented immigrants can pay in-state tuition under a 2013 law signed by Gov. Christie. But the law's impact will be lessened if students, unable to work, can't afford to pay for school. Without DACA, "college will be a luxury," said Giancarlo Tello, 26, a DACA participant and director of undocuJersey, a group focused on helping undocumented immigrants access higher education. For Tello, a graduate assistant at Rowan...

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