Issues of immigration have been jolting the nation since President Donald Trump announced his plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program last September. This national dilemma hit Pacific University when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) members came to the Forest Grove campus as part of the Spring Work and Service Fair on Feb. 1.
ICE is a source of pain and fear for undocumented immigrants and DACA recipients. Government protection of DACA recipients will end on March 5 and leave hundreds of thousands of people, who were
brought to the United States as children, with uncertain futures.
The tense debate surrounding DACA and immigration led to an impasse between Republican and Democratic members of Congress, which ultimately caused the federal government to shut down on Saturday, Jan. 20.
This strained issue directly impacted Pacific when ICE members walked freely around campus, causing
DACA and undocumented students to fear for their safety.
A university that claims to value diversity, equity and inclusion, should make sure its marginalized
students feel safe. A campus that claims to value social justice, as Pacific does, should be aware that allowing ICE members on campus jeopardizes the safety and emotional wellbeing of its students.
On Feb. 1, the university sent an email to students and employees of the Forest Grove campus addressing concerns and reassuring the community that ICE members were present solely for the purpose of the Work and Service Fair.
“The university takes all possible steps to protect the privacy of our students,” the email said.
Although Pacific took steps to reassure students that their safety would be protected, they did not apologize to the students who were affected by ICE’s presence. If Pacific truly values social justice, it should not welcome ICE onto its campus.
If the administrators truly value diversity, equity and inclusion, they need to apologize to their students and reassure them that they are safe and welcome on this campus.
“There will be a campus wide forum to discuss the issue of ICE on campus and the date is yet to be determined,” Narce Rodriguez, the executive director of the office of equity, diversity and inclusion said.
If the nation and the president will not stand up to protect DACA and undocumented students, then it is up to us.