Sanctuary Campus FAQs

What is a sanctuary campus?
What specifically constitutes a sanctuary campus is still very much being defined. The movement stems from the sanctuary city movement, in which cities throughout the United States have committed to not turn over undocumented individuals to federal officials merely for violating federal immigration. These commitments to to being a sanctuary city can be either formally implemented through policy, or informally through practice. Extending these ideas to the campus environment means that campus police will not turn over undocumented students to federal officials whose sole violation is not violating federal immigration law.

There are currently 35 cities who have declared themselves sanctuary cities. They include Los Angles, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Washington DC, and New York City to name just a few. In New Mexico the city of Santa Fe is a sanctuary city. Albuquerque and Las Cruces are not.

What are the legal issues?
We are not asking for the campus to break any laws. Certainly the sanctuary movement is still evolving and potential legal issues must be addressed. However, it is not acceptable in our view to use potential legal issues as a cover for not becoming a sanctuary campus. We firmly believe that strong leadership in the President's/Chancellor's office involves addressing taking the necessary legal steps to protect our students. 

 ICE policy strictly limits enforcement actions at "sensitive locations" such as hospitals, schools, and college campuses. Read that document here.
The majority of campuses who have committed - and have used very strong, specific language (such as NEI) simply aren't concerned about the issue, presumably because the the ICE document referenced above.

For those concerned about legality, Wesleyan College (in CT) was one of the first to commit to being a Sanctuary Campus. The President checked with his legal team and inserted two clauses in its public commitment to secure the constitutionality of the act. Read about that here  

Will declaring our campus a sanctuary campus threaten our federal funding?
There is no serious indication that our federal funding will be threatened. Sanctuary cities (see above) are still receiving federal funding as are other campuses that have declared themselves sanctuary campuses. Further, (and also discussed above) we are not asking NMSU to  violate federal law. ICE policy strictly limits enforcement actions at “sensitive locations,” including college campuses ( ).

Are you only concerned about the safety of DACA and undocumented students?
We believe a sanctuary campus must commit to the safety of ALL students and particularly those who have been targeted recently,  including DACA, undocumented, Muslim, Jew, Black, and LGBTQ students, and women. 

What are you demands in your petition?
Our demands are consistent with other campuses seeking commitment to becoming a sanctuary campus. We have specifically listed the following five demands:

1. Ensure that the identities of undocumented members of our community continue to be protected.
2. Adopt a resolution that actively bans U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other immigration enforcement officials           from this campus and all land owned or controlled by the university.
3. Block immigration officials from student information without explicit consent from the student.
4. Continue to allow qualifying DACA students to pay in-state resident tuition.
5. Make a public statement indicating that the university urges the U.S. government to affirmatively protect students who are currently        under DACA from removal and supports a path to permanent status for these students.

In addition, we call on the university to publicly state that anyone found to be harassing members of the University community will be immediately referred to the appropriate authorities.

Which campuses in New Mexico are sanctuary campuses?
Santa Fe Community College is the only declared sanctuary campus in New Mexico. Read more about it here . The other campuses that are petitioning their presidents/chancellors to be a sanctuary campus are the University of New Mexico, Central New Mexico Community College, and New Mexico State University and its system, which includes Dona Ana Community College.

Which campuses in the United States are sanctuary campuses?
As discussed elsewhere on this page, the level of commitment to sanctuary status varies. Often it's merely lip service with nothing meaningful attached (but hey, that's a start!) to a serious commitment complete with legal ramifications addressed (Wesleyan College in Connecticut is notable here). The list includes the entire University of California System; Oregon State University (OR); Reed College (OR); University of Pennsylvania (PA). To see a more complete list of schools you can check these two sources out. One is the Sanctuary Schools facebook page and another is this article .

How many other campuses are pursuing sanctuary status?
The list keeps growing. At last count (on the Sanctuary Schools facebook page) 150 schools are currently involved in this movement. 

Are DACA students here illegally?
No. More coming on this soon...