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Committee focused on undocumented students at Syracuse University is first step in protecting vulnerable community

A new Syracuse University committee that will work to develop an institutional strategy to meet the needs of undocumented students shows the administration is willing to take strides to students who feel concerned about their immigration status under President Donald Trump.

Chancellor Kent Syverud has stated his support for undocumented students, but the university has not yet taken any concrete actions to protect undocumented students in wake of Trump’s rhetoric about cracking down on undocumented peoples in the United States.

Despite some pressure from the SU community, Syverud has not deemed the university a “sanctuary campus,” and he has understandable reasoning for not doing so. Sanctuary campuses, in theory, adopt policies that protect students who are undocumented immigrants, but campuses that intentionally override federal law may face restricted federal aid.

As an alternative, the Ad Hoc Committee on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)/Undocumented Students has the potential to address students’ concerns about Trump’s immigration policies and rhetoric. Although many of these students may like to see their concerns addressed through the declaration of SU as a sanctuary campus, this committee can likely aim to do the same work as a sanctuary campus — just without the title.

The committee, which was established on Feb. 24, is composed of several students and faculty members, who seem to have knowledge of the issues surrounding undocumented students and actively work to address those issues. It’s key for a committee that is focused on vulnerable students has members who are in touch with the topic at hand.

The university must always work to meet the needs of all its students. Ensuring that undocumented students feel safe under the Trump administration should be a priority for SU, and this committee is an important place to start.

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