WASHINGTON — The next battleground over immigration might not be anywhere near the border.
At universities across the United States, students say they’re planning walkouts on Wednesday.
Their aim: Pressuring officials to make their school a “sanctuary campus” that limits cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
The protests come a week after the election of Donald Trump, who’s said deporting millions of undocumented immigrants will be a top priority once he takes office.
What’s a sanctuary campus?
That depends who you ask. Petitions have been circulating at a number of schools over the past few days. Some ask universities to declare their support for undocumented students publicly.
Others ask for more specific measures, like guarantees that the school won’t release information on students’ immigration status and that university police forces won’t team up with the feds in deportation raids.
“Different campuses are doing different things,” said Vera Parra, an organizer with Cosecha Movement. “Actions are not necessarily directed at school administration, but about supporting undocumented students on campuses and their fears about what can happen to them and their families under a Donald Trump administration.”
Organizers say students from 80 schools around the country have said they’ll be protesting.
A map released by organizers shows dozens of campuses across the country. The map isn’t official. People can sign up to place their campus on the map with an online form. But it gives a sense of where we might start to see protests popping up.
What do others think?
Word of the protests sparked a swift backlash on Twitter, where some users slammed students for participating.
Many said students shouldn’t expect their college campuses to protect them. Some called for funding to be cut to schools that pursued a sanctuary campus policy.
Where does this idea come from?
In recent years, local governments across the country have been in the spotlight for fighting back against federal immigration enforcement by calling themselves sanctuary cities.
Trump made them a focus on the campaign trail, pledging to block funding for cities that take that tack.
More than 200 state and local jurisdictions have policies that call for not honoring US Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention requests, the agency’s director, Sarah Saldaña, told Congress last year.
There’s no legal definition of a sanctuary city, county or state, and what it means varies from place to place.