The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TCC says no to sanctuary campus for immigrants


By Kathryn Kelman/ne news editor

TCC will not be joining the list of declared sanctuary campuses across the nation.

A sanctuary campus is any college or university in the United States that adopts policies to protect students who are undocumented immigrants. That would contradict federal as well as Texas state law, and a district administrator said TCC will not do that.

“As a district, we must comply with the law and would not impede a federal, state or municipal official from enforcing a lawful action, even if, as individuals, we disagree with that action,” vice chancellor for administration and general counsel Angela Robinson said.

Many policies have been proposed by sanctuary campuses to protect undocumented students. Refusing to allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers onto a campus without a warrant was one of the proposed policies at the University of North Texas, according to a petition that circulated the campus. But the petition was denied by UNT’s president Neal Smatresk.

“For TCCD to designate itself as a sanctuary campus is only a symbolic label that may create a false sense of protection for any student who may have undocumented status,” Robinson said.

TCC is an open college, and anyone can come on to the campus whether they have a warrant or don’t have one, TCC assistant police chief Leigh Dietrich said.

As far as federal agents are concerned, she said they could call TCC police as a courtesy, but ICE officers or any other external law enforcement officers are not required to tell TCC police before coming on to campus or arresting someone.

Other sanctuary campuses have proposed for campus police officers to refuse to enforce immigration

laws or work with ICE officers, but TCC officers have never worked with ICE officers in the past and they haven’t been approached about doing so, Dietrich said.

“Agencies don’t call us and say, ‘We have a warrant. Can you go get them for us?’” Dietrich said.

But if they do, TCC police will continue to abide by local, state and federal laws, Dietrich said.

Robinson is also unaware of any action by ICE officers on TCC’s campuses, she said. But, TCC police can be expected to cooperate with any external law enforcement team or officer.

“Provided that any such requests for information or cooperation do not violate other policies, statutes or protections,” she said.

Currently, no restrictions are in place that keep a TCC officer from questioning a student’s immigration status, but that isn’t information that campus officers seek out, nor are they provided that information, Dietrich said.

“The safety and security of every student is an absolute priority for TCCD,” Robinson said.

TCC currently has nondiscrimination policies in place and will continue to support students and protect their rights under the law, Robinson said.

Senate Bill 4 is a bill currently being proposed in the Texas Legislature that would punish local and state governments and college campuses that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials or enforce immigration laws.

The bill passed in the Texas Senate Feb. 8 in a 20-10 vote, but it still has to go through the House.

“If SB4 is passed, we’ll evaluate if any changes need to be made to the District’s processes and policies,” Robinson said.

If passed, the bill wouldn’t have any effect on TCC police, Dietrich said.

Robinson said she can’t say with certainty what impact measures like Senate Bill 4 may have on TCC or education in general.

“We’ll react responsibly, and legally, if and when that time comes,” she said.

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