I’ve seen some friends posting links on Facebook petitioning to make their college campus a “Sanctuary Campus,” similar to the sanctuary cities around the country. At first I scrolled past and ignored them. I know far too many people that are constantly posting about all the protests they are taking part in, and figured this was just one of those brief movements that happen at liberal arts schools.
Then I saw one for my school…
Maybe calling it a petition is a bit much. It’s a Google Survey where people can type in their name and whatever title they want to add, showing their support for the cause. I find it both comical and terrifying at the same time. It’s funny, because there’s no way to verify or regulate what people type in. If someone wanted to go sign it as Barack Obama or Donald Trump, whoever created the survey could go add the names to the list and nobody would know it wasn’t really them. It’s also great to see things people have added: Their class year is fairly common, some include whatever fraternity or sorority they are in, and one professor made sure to include that they were a “Distinguished Professor,” as if any of those things hold more weight than any other name on the list. If I want to name myself the President of Mars in the form, I could.
But moving on from that, this “petition” is also the most horrifying thing I’ve seen in a long time. If you ignore the multiple references to Donald Trump, as if he is single handedly hunting down illegal immigrants, the author focuses on “feeling safe at home.” As a residential student on WPI’s campus, I understand that people want it to feel like a home. I do too. But just because you want it to be a home doesn’t mean you’re able to rewrite the laws. If this country worked that way, drug dealers would be fine as long as they made their meth in their own home. Murderers and rapists would have nothing to worry about as long as they didn’t walk out their front doors. I could even use what I learned in my Nuclear Engineering class and build a reactor in my basement, and nobody could stop me as long as I stayed inside.
But that’s not quite how this country works. “Feel good” or not, “at home” or not, the law doesn’t change. If someone wants to stand in line, fill out the paperwork, and enter this country legally like my great grandparents did, then those that were able to sneak in without being caught shouldn’t be allowed to violate the laws of our nation simply because they or others want to “feel safe at home.” We have ways for people to legally enter this country and make it their home, but running over the border without getting caught isn’t one of those ways. And no matter how much people may rant about “breaking up families and communities,” it doesn’t allow someone to hide from the repercussions of their illegal actions.
The fact is, these people have broken the law to enter this nation as they did, and these criminals should not be sheltered from the law. Anyone who tries to claim it will “have lasting consequences on the civic vitality and economic growth” of the school or city are disillusioned with what is really happening. It is not “violating their rights” to send someone back to the country they left when they came here illegally. It is not going to “devastate the community” to only allow those that followed the law to be here.
If you really want to help those that have migrated to the United States, consider going to help teach English classes, or volunteering in the community, or even just making friends with someone that just came here. But to demand we shelter those that have cut the line to enter the US and broken our laws is absurd. It terrifies me that so many are demanding we not only ignore criminals, but help them.