IU student group pushes for ‘sanctuary campus’ status, more resources for undocumented students

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - An Indiana University student group is trying to garner more support for undocumented people. Members of the Undocu Hoosier Alliance are asking university leaders to declare IU a "sanctuary campus" and offer resources for students who fall under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Former President Barack Obama implemented DACA in 2012. The measure allows some people brought to the United States illegally as children to enroll in college or work for a period of two years, with the possibility of renewal. During the campaign, President Donald Trump said he wants to do away with DACA.

This week, Trump signed an executive order that increases deportation efforts.

"Our order also does the following, ends the policy of catch and release at the border, requires other countries to take back to their criminals -- they will take them back -- cracks down on sanctuary cities, empowers ICE officers to target and remove those who pose a threat to public safety, calls for the hiring of another 5,000 border patrol officers, calls for the tripling of the number of ICE officers," Trump said.

The new administration has not released plans for the future of DACA. In his first TV interview as president, Trump said he will be announcing more details in the coming weeks.

Guadalupe Pimentel Solana arrived in the United States at age 6. She is now an undocumented Indiana college student, who is awaiting Trump's decision.

"First we heard rumors DACA would be canceled Friday, then Monday," Solana said. "Now we’re not sure."

Solana said she believes it's important for immigrant communities to stand together.

"Indiana is a state that claims to welcome all," Solana said. "So we're here to remind community members to hold our elected officials accountable."

In Bloomington, Undocu Hoosier Alliance members say they are trying to provide support for those who feel their futures are uncertain.

"We don’t know what exactly is going to happen with DACA - how it will be affected, " said Willy Palomo, executive member of the Undocu Hoosier Alliance. "A lot of undocumented people are afraid."

Along with additional resources for undocumented students, the group would also like to see IU become a sanctuary campus.

"Sanctuary campus is mostly a symbolic action but it’s an important symbolic action," Palomo said. "These are strong stances in support of undocumented people who have not committed crimes."

The group's Facebook page states they are in conversation with university leadership about these concerns.

An IU spokesperson issued this statement:

"As a public institution that is bound by federal and state laws, Indiana University is able to, and will, take several steps to support all IU students, regardless of personal characteristics or documentation. But Indiana University will not declare itself a sanctuary campus if that means violating federal or state laws."

This week, Trump was asked about DACA. He said students who fall into this category should not be very worried, and added they are here illegally.

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