Montana Public Radio

'Sanctuary' Movement Arrives At UM

Nov 16, 2016

The University of Montana is being asked to limit its cooperation with federal immigration authorities. But UM officials are in no hurry to comply with that request.

The "sanctuary campus" movement has picked up steam in the days since Donald Trump won the presidency. That movement officially arrived at the University of Montana Wednesday.

"We do have some demands that we want to ask the university and Royce Engstrom to uphold: The university refuses all voluntary information-sharing with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE," said Antonio Moresette.

Several dozen people gathered at UM to share their apprehension about a Trump presidency. Trump has vowed to deport millions who are in the United States illegally.

Some want campuses like UM to do more to protect immigrant students.

“I think it’s a great idea," said UM’s campus architect Jameel Chaudhry.

Chaudhry worked for years to become a legal U.S. citizen.

“We’ve heard, or seen on the internet news stories, several undocumented aliens who are studying in universities across the country, and they’re all scared that they’re going to be deported," Chaudhry said.

But UM spokeswoman Paula Short says the "sanctuary campus" movement raises more questions than it answers.

“I know that this movement is popular around the nation, it's been gaining momentum where campuses are concerned, but there’s a lot of unknowns there,” Short said.

Short adds that UM must uphold all state and federal laws.

She says UM President Royce Engstrom has invited the student organizers to meet with him to discuss the proposal, but is not prepared at this time to endorse it.