Just little over a month in office, President Donald Trump has showed that he has every intention of fulfilling his anti-immigrant campaign promises. His executive order banning people from seven Muslim majority countries and deportation of undocumented Mexicans directly affects the livelihood of immigrants and refugees.
President Devorah Lieberman showed she believes in the University of La Verne values of diversity and inclusivity by making a speedy decision to protect undocumented immigrant students, as well as those from the Muslim countries targeted by Trump.
Beyond her email, many offices on campus were prepared to provide a support system for the affected students, Director of International Students Pressian Nicolov said. This strong statement and response to an intolerable executive order reassured students that ULV will not be negatively persuaded into changing its values for Donald Trump’s agenda.
In an effort to counteract current mass deportation measures, several cities across the nation – such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. – have declared themselves sanctuary cities. In essence, this means that they generally refuse to comply with requests to report, detain or pursue immigrants that are undocumented.
The city of La Verne should join these major cities, support its immigrant community and declare itself a sanctuary city too. And Trump’s threat to cut federal funding to these cities should not be a deterrent to them doing the right thing.
Many politicians spoke out in support of immigrants, acknowledging their city’s culturally diverse population and standing by it as they would do for their American-born citizens. Given the intense political climate now, this is not only the right moment to take firm stands but also to decide which side of history to be on. Years from now, we will look back at this period of time and reflect on it and on the things we did and did not do.
As a city with a culturally and ethnically diverse demographic – 32.5 percent of the population is Hispanic, 7.6 percent is of German ancestry, according to a 2015 study by City Data; and 16 percent are foreign-born according to the U.S.. Census Bureau – La Verne should take a stand in solidarity, along with the University.
That would be a positive way to lead in times when the spirit of community itself is questioned. Worse than losing federal funds or the electoral support of a few who hold outdated views would be to lose our commitment to inclusivity, empathy and humanity altogether.