Petition calls for administration to declare UP a 'sanctuary' for undocumented immigrants

By Cheyenne Schoen | November 16, 2016 12:01am

Update: As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, the petition had grown to 800 signatures.

A petition addressed to University President Fr. Mark Poorman is circulating on social media throughout the University of Portland community that urges administration to “implement a plan to declare our campus a sanctuary for undocumented students, staff, and their family members who face imminent deportation” in the wake of the election.

The petition follows dozens of other universities across the nation that have drafted similar petitions urging school administrators to take steps to declare their institutions “sanctuary campuses,” meaning they would limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities. The UP petition’s wording is similar to one drafted by students at the University of Notre Dame, UP’s sister school.

The move comes after mayors from many cities, including Portland Mayor-Elect Ted Wheeler reiterated that their cities are “sanctuary cities” that will continue to welcome undocumented immigrants threatened by deportation. According to the Seattle Times, a “sanctuary city” broadly means that the city has “policies and practices that limit local involvement in immigration enforcement.” President-Elect Donald Trump has threatened to withhold federal funds from said “sanctuary cities”.

There are roughly 700,000 young undocumented immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program started by President Barack Obama in 2012 that could be in a unique position of risk for deportation because they provided personal information admitting their undocumented status to the federal government when signing up for the program, which Trump has denounced.

Theology major Matthew Nelson and music major Lupita Zamora-Resendiz, both seniors, drafted the UP petition and shared it online Tuesday afternoon. As of 10 p.m. on Tuesday, the petition had 158 signatures from students, staff and alumni.