UPenn Immigration
University of Pennsylvania Campus Beth J. Harpaz/AP

In this March 2016 file photo, a person walks near College Hall on the University of Pennsylvania campus in Philadelphia.

November 30, 2016

In campuswide email, Penn assures it's a 'sanctuary' for undocumented students

Officials at the University of Pennsylvania said that they will do whatever they can to ensure the security and success of the school's undocumented students in a campuswide email sent Wednesday.

The announcement comes after hundreds of students, faculty and alumni signed an online petition calling for the school to turn itself into a "sanctuary campus." The sanctuary status would mean that the college would be a place for undocumented students and faculty to study and work without them worrying about being turned over to federal authorities.


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Part of the email, signed by President Amy Gutmann, Provost Vincent Price and Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli, read:

The University of Pennsylvania will not allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)/Customs and Border Protection (CBP)/U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on our campus unless required by warrant. Further, the University will not share any information about any undocumented student with these agencies unless presented with valid legal process. We also endorse the City of Philadelphia’s Fourth Amendment practice that blocks City and campus police from complying with ICE detainer requests for nonviolent offenses. Penn is and has always been a “sanctuary” – a safe place for our students to live and to learn. We assure you that we will continue in all of our efforts to protect and support our community including our undocumented students.

The email also said that the school has advisers to help its undocumented students and those who fall under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, President Barack Obama's executive order protecting children and young teenagers who came to the United States from deportation.

"We recognize that many in our community remain anxious about the future," officials said in the email. "United, we will do everything in our power to ensure the continued security and success of our undocumented students. It is times such as these when we must hold even closer our cherished Penn values of inclusion, diversity, equity and mutual respect."

President-elect Donald Trump, who graduated from Penn in 1968, said that he will "immediately terminate" DACA after he is inaugurated. 

Trump has also threatened to cut funding to sanctuary cities like Philadelphia, which protect undocumented citizens from federal authorities.

"Block funding for sanctuary cities ... no more funding. We will end the sanctuary cities that have resulted in so many needless deaths," Trump said in Phoenix, CNN reported. "Cities that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities will not receive taxpayer dollars, and we will work with Congress to pass legislation to protect those jurisdictions that do assist federal authorities." 

Mayor Jim Kenney said that Philadelphia would keep its sanctuary title regardless of Trump's comments.