MSU staff sign statement promising not to aid immigration officials

Mar 15, 2017
Originally published on March 15, 2017 10:35 am

Around 700 faculty and staff members at Michigan State University say they will not help immigration officials that attempt to apprehend, deport, or determine the immigration status of students.

Staff members have been signing a "Statement of Solidarity," which promises to support students that want to remain in the US.

We declare our solidarity with all our students, including those who are immigrants, refugees, or children of immigrants. We will not collaborate with federal forces or agencies seeking to establish the legal immigration status of students or facilitate their apprehension or deportation. We support completely their attempts to remain here as students pursuing a higher education and their drive to make a better life for themselves and contribute to the future of our country and the world.

Some professors added their own reasons for signing. Joy Landis wrote, "I also stand against the related hate that is being expressed against Muslims, Jews and people of color to name a few."

And Gail Vander Stoep added, "The diversity of our campus community both strengthens and enriches all of us."

The statement comes ahead of a new executive order from President Trump which replaces the travel ban that was announced in January. The new travel ban will go into effect Thursday, halting travel by refugees, immigrants and visitors from six Muslim-majority countries.

After the first executive order, MSU president Lou Anna K. Simon released a statement: "Our students and scholars come from around the world to become Spartans, and then return to the world to make it better. We must not allow fear to change the nature of who we are."

In a press release accompanying the faculty statement, MSU English professor Ken Harrow also expressed support for any students that may be in the U.S. illegally.

He said that the statement is "not a call for disobedience of laws, but a refusal to collaborate with the federal immigration authorities such as ICE (Immigration and Customs enforcement)."

Schools, medical facilities, and places of worship fall under the "sensitive location policy," according to ICE officials. The federal agency has typically avoided picking people up at those places. 

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