For students with precarious citizenship statuses – a protest in front of Day Hall is not a passive annoyance, but an active assertion. An assertion of their presence, agency and lived experiences while attending our hallowed and supposedly supportive university. While some say that education is the great equalizer, it means nothing if students have to protest in response to the University’s failure to support them, acknowledge their well-being and address their institutional concerns.
The event encouraged students to call representatives despite the Supreme Court’s Feb. 26th decision to uphold an injunction on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival suspension while a lower court takes up the case.
Tuesday’s reported arrest of a man in downtown Ithaca by U.S. Immigrations and Custom Enforcement is the latest example of the federal overreach and lack of accountability characteristic to the Trump administration. Under President Trump, arrests by ICE have increased 47 percent, and arrests of undocumented immigrants with no criminal records have increased a staggering 179 percent. ICE continues to show a blatant disregard for human dignity, arresting parents dropping their kids off at school, students going to high school prom and patients emerging from operating rooms. On Jan. 16, ICE arrested a Michigan doctor and lawful permanent resident, and have initiated deportation proceedings against him based on two misdemeanor charges from nearly three decades ago, when the man was a teenager. How does that make us safer?
Last Wednesday, agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 32-year old Mexican national and Ithaca resident Jose L. Guzman. The event was confirmed and only widely spread once reporters investigated the swift and shocking arrest, a bleak reminder that federal agencies are operating faster than ever under the auspices of the current administration. ICE has become more active over the past few months, increasing their arrests by a staggering 32.6 percent only a few weeks after Trump assumed the presidency. Under the Obama administration, federal agents were directed to focus on serious criminals — now, empowered by the new administration, ICE is increasingly merciless in its efforts to deport undocumented immigrants, even those with no criminal record. “Before, we used to be told, ‘You can’t arrest those people,’ and we’d be disciplined for being insubordinate if we did…Now those people are priorities again,” a 10-year veteran of the ICE agency admitted to The New York Times.