Students to campus presidents, Trustees: Make campuses immigration sanctuary spaces

CSU Northridge president Dianne Harrison told students she will talk with police about making campuses sanctuary spaces for undocumented immigrants after she heard an impassioned speech by CSUN student Eduardo Estrada at the CSU Trustees meeting May 25.

Estrada, who is double majoring in History and Chicana/o Studies, told Trustees that while the safety of students and their families should be one of the CSU administration’s top priorities, undocumented students are not given the same protection as other students.

“So much of the illegal immigration into this country is done by people escaping conditions in their home countries caused by the United States’ own involvement. To allow ICE agents, whose occupation is historically discriminatory, onto our campuses, is an immense slap in the face to every single undocumented student in this state. These are students grinding to earn degrees that will only help the reputation of your schools. Permitting ICE agents onto our campuses is disgusting and intolerable,” he told Trustees.

“If the Los Angeles Unified School District can successfully turn their campuses into Sanctuary Schools, where ICE agents are not permitted to set foot on, why have we, as a post-secondary institution, have not been able to, or even considered, taking on that same policy at a system-wide level as well? This is not an issue that we will allow to be overlooked. There will be Not One More.”

Concerns, fears, and outrage have been increasing since earlier this year, when a Long Beach resident was deported after being pulled over and held by a Cal State Long Beach police officer. At a March forum on campus, students voiced frustration about the case, and the deportee’s son and wife gave an account of the incident. About 900 undocumented students attend Cal State Long Beach, and those who transfer from California’s high schools receive in-state tuition under the DREAM Act.

In May, Cal State Long Beach President Jane Close Conoley made permanent orders that protect undocumented people from being detained for immigration violations by campus police.

After Estrada spoke to CSU Trustees, Harrison pulled him aside and said she was inspired by what he said and would talk to the police. After the meeting concluded, Estrada and Students for Quality Education Intern Norberto Lopez, a Cal State Long Beach student, spoke to Harrison and Lopez suggested she work with Conoley given the recent sanctuary space orders at Long Beach. Harrison told the students that she emailed her cabinet to get the process started during the board meeting.

“It means a lot to me,” Estrada said. “We’ll keep in touch with her to make sure it does go through. I’m very hopeful she keeps to her word.”