Sanctuary dreams for some may lead to nightmares for all

The leadership of the Los Angeles Community College District (“LACCD”) may be leading  students into troubled waters by jumping on the ‘Sanctuary Campus” bandwagon, no matter how surreptitiously.

By D.R.  Harward, staff writer

In these uncertain times, taunting an irrational, impulsive and vindictive president by preemptively declaring  an intention to defy presidential orders and publishing  plans to resist the anticipated actions of federal agents charged with carrying out said orders would seem to be unwise, at best.   

The Valley College website touts a new addition on the main page called “LACCD Immigration,” clicking on it will take you to a page on the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) website that is misleadingly titled “Know Your Rights | March 2017.” Instead of a discourse on rights, immigration or otherwise, one will find a few short paragraphs offering  empty assurances to undocumented students and their families, together with instructions on how employees should react should they see an ICE official accessing campus.

These guidelines essentially instruct staff to not cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel and to refer agents and any requests made by such agents to the Office of the LACCD Chancellor, whom together with General Council will decide whether to comply or not. The policy extends to the mere presence of federal enforcement officers on campus, in which case it directs that LACCD personnel and/or students to immediately call and report the federal presence.

The guidelines are careful to avoid  using the term “sanctuary,” but the intention to restrict, delay or refuse to cooperate with ICE is the same as those intentions of the declared sanctuary jurisdictions. It is possible therefore, that the LACCD could be considered as being just such a jurisdiction and could expect to be treated as such, particularly by the Director of ICE or the Secretary of Homeland Security.

A significant portion of student body stands to suffer should President Donald J. Trump  follow through with the punitive actions that were included in his executive order about sanctuary jurisdictions.  Section 9a of that order, titled “ENHANCING PUBLIC SAFETY IN THE INTERIOR OF THE UNITED STATES issued January 26 2017, says that regarding “Sanctuary Jurisdictions” they  shall comply with an existing federal law (8 U.S.C. 1373), which declares that no governing entity may in any way restrict the sending or receiving of information to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (now known as “ICE”) about an individual’s citizenship or immigration status.

The executive order continues:

…jurisdictions that willfully refuse to comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 (sanctuary jurisdictions) are not eligible to receive Federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes by the Attorney General or the Secretary.  The Secretary has the authority to designate, in his discretion and to the extent consistent with law, a jurisdiction as a sanctuary jurisdiction.  The Attorney General shall take appropriate enforcement action against any entity that violates 8 U.S.C. 1373, or which has in effect a statute, policy, or practice that prevents or hinders the enforcement of Federal law.

Considering the fact that the leadership of the LACCD  is chosen via public election and the district is funded almost entirely by public funds, there should be little doubt that the LACCD is a jurisdiction within the meaning of the order.

Should the the policy regarding “Federal Immigration Officials”  conducting an “Enforcement Action at LACCD Colleges” be construed as an attempt to hinder ICE activities, it is possible that the eligibility for federal grants could be  suspended within the LACCD jurisdiction.

Pell grants are federal grants and they can easily be sorted by college because they are first distributed to schools who then determine which students qualify to receive them. In other words, it would be a simple matter to suspend Pell grants to students attending LACCD colleges.

Now, according to the LACCD webpage; it is current policy at ICE to avoid “sensitive areas” such as schools, but folks over at the LACCD are basing their assumptions on past experience, but that past experience is no longer relevant. There is a new kind of POTUS in town.

This President Of The United States (“POTUS”) has already demonstrated an unprecedented disregard for established procedures.Take for example, his attack on the Shayrat Airport in Syria on April 7, in which 60 US Tomahawk missiles destroyed 20 percent of the operational Syrian aircraft, according to the UPI. Such an action is an unprecedented and unprovoked act of war—nothing less.

Disagree? Try thinking of it like this; what if America got itself accused of using some poison gas in downtown Dayton, Ohio. Say, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement set up a Citizenship Checkpoint, blocking off the street next to a big chemical plant, and one day while on a lunch break one of the officers flicked a lit cigarette butt in what seemed to be a safe direction. But just then a freak wind came along a swooshed  into a box filled with dynamite and all underneath a giant tank filled with pure chlorine. The accidental explosion causes a cloud of chlorine vapor that cause a few deaths. Due to the ICE connection, conspiracy theories  and fake news stories begin trending and then out-of-the-blue North Korea decided to punish us by attacking the Burbank airport with ICBM’s. Now, under those circumstances wouldn’t you agree that if even one missile landed, let alone 59, nearly everyone in America would be convinced that Pyongyang had irrevocably declared war upon the U.S.―just as we have now  against Syria.

Trump followed none of the standard procedures adhered to by his predecessors, completely ignoring things like getting congressional backing first or securing any international support. Trump’s reason for the attack:

“Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children.” he said during an evening address.

To make matters worse, the Russians had aircraft stationed at the targeted airfield. Imagine the fallout that could have resulted from hitting some of them—with each side having 7000 nuclear missiles, it could quite literally be the last world war.

The point is that he risked getting into World War 3  all because of an alleged attack on Syrian citizens by the Syrian government; an attack in which not a single American had been reported to have been injured nor any piece of US property damaged. Now with that hair-trigger in mind; wouldn’t you agree that his response to a gaggle of highly educated domestic dissenters who publicly proclaim a willingness to thumb their noses at Trump and defy his authority, may not nearly be what is expected?

Another bit of insight into Trumps’ behavior can be gleaned from the Syrian missile incident is that he specifically names Syrian head of state, Bashar al-Assad, as being the person responsible the use of the “nerve agent”, but he directed the attack against an airbase almost a hundred miles away from the capital. Killing people who were involved in the alleged nefarious activity only casually provides for us a basis for the assumption that he would have even less concern over any financial devastation suffered by students caught in a cross fire over ideologies.

Prominently posting guidelines, on the school website, for employees is an unusual practice for the LACCD and doing so in this case seems to have been done to provide reassurances for those students apprehensive about where their future domiciles may be located. But the potential costs that may be paid by nearly the entire student body far outweigh any such benefit. The webpage should be taken down.


One comment

  1. As a California resident, first generation American, and potential Federal Student Aid beneficiary in the fall of 2017 – without which I can not attend LAVC – I strongly disagree with the opinions stated in this article.
    Instability and disorganization are exactly what 45’s and his administration are counting on. Therefore we need to stand our ground, reassure others, stay united, and not promote any kind of fear-mongering, whatsoever.
    “In Germany (also in America’s Japanese war camps, during WWII) they came first for the communists, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Jew. They they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up, because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.” Reverand Martin Niemoller.
    I understand the risks involved with sanctuary cities and schools, but when I read the author’s position I am forced to express my shame at their lack of solidarity.
    I have come to expect more from anyone writing in a California school body newspaper, as well as the administration who decides to publish it.
    However important it is to be aware of the risks detailed above, suggesting to take down informational website links is the height of willful ignorance.
    In my humble opinion, it feels like a first step backwards – not unlike another era’s outlawing of LGBT, Women’s groups, and Planned Parenthood on campus…how many decades ago, now? Oh, wait…;-/. -N.Grierson

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