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November 18, 2016

In Letter, Hundreds of Cornellians Demand Sanctuary for Undocumented Students

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As of Friday afternoon, over 250 students, faculty and alumni have signed a letter — publicized today — demanding that the University’s administration make Cornell a “sanctuary” for undocumented students.

Citing the University’s “any person, any study” motto, the letter’s authors expressed concerns for students’ safety in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election, saying Cornell has a responsibility to “maintain an environment in which all of our students can learn without fear.” The president-elect has repeatedly vowed to take actions to deport millions of immigrants.

“We ask that you honor Ithaca’s tradition of being a place of sanctuary as well as Cornell’s historical roots in the abolition movement, by making an unequivocal statement of support for undocumented persons and their families,” the letter says.

The letter asks the administration to release a statement denouncing violence and hate speech directed at immigrants, as well as provide legal and counseling services for Cornellians affected by new government policies.

The document also requests that the University guarantee funding for undocumented and international students, raising concerns about Trump’s promise to eliminate executive actions like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — a policy enacted by President Barack Obama that allows immigrants who came to the country as children to live and work in the United States.

Finally, the letter asks the administration to make the campus a space safe from U.S. immigration officials and refrain from releasing “information that can make students vulnerable.”

“We cannot evade our responsibility to the present and the future,” the letter continues. “We ask you to stand on the right side of history.”