Kaydee Gawlik/Staff Photographer
Aaron Sanchez Guerra, a fourth-year studying English, raises his fist while leading a chant during Sanctuary Everywhere, starting at the Wake County Justice Center and ending at the North Carolina State Capitol in support of immigrant rights, Saturday, Jan. 27. Sanctuary Everywhere Raleigh was organized by Wolfpack Students for Immigrant Rights and Equality on behalf of the many immigrants in North Carolina that fear deportation or separation from their families.
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Yesenia Jones | Staff Writer
A rally advocating for the Sanctuary Movement in North Carolina was held in Downtown Raleigh on January 27, 2018. The rally was lead and organized by a student group, Wolfpack Students for Immigrant Rights and Equality, also known as SIRE.
However, NC State students at the rally were significantly outnumbered by community leaders and students from other schools. The lack of NC State students present became evident as everyone mingled together at the starting point of the march and the rally’s final location at the North Carolina State Capitol.
In overheard conversations throughout the rally, participants could be heard saying that they were students at Wake Technical Community College or East Carolina University Alumni, were community activists or simply there in support of a friend. But rarely did I hear someone, besides the rally organizers and volunteers, say that they were a student at NC State. The lack of solidarity and support from the Wolfpack for this issue and their fellow student leaders is disheartening.
In case you don’t know, the Sanctuary movement is essentially a political campaign to provide sanctuary for undocumented immigrants who have received an order of deportation. Those needing sanctuary are normally housed in churches and supported by community members. Today there are currently four known people in sanctuary here in North Carolina. Their names are Jose Chicas, Samuel Oliver-Bruno, Juana Ortega and Eliseo Jimenez.
In order for undocumented immigrants to thrive in a sanctuary environment, large amounts of support from the community is necessary. People in sanctuary are unable to drive, due to restrictions around driver’s license for undocumented immigrants. Therefore, they need people to bring them food. Some of their other needs include tutors for their children, medical assistance, legal assistance, supplies delivered to them at their place of sanctuary and help keeping their family members afloat while they are seeking refuge.
NC State is a university with plentiful resources that could make a tremendous impact on the lives of undocumented immigrants seeking refuge from deportation. Our resources and our ability to stand together as a united wolfpack can be seen through the excitement and support for our men’s basketball team as we defeat long time rivals, the Tar Heels. I would like to see this same energy, support and excitement bring us together as a united wolfpack to make a difference in our community.
There are approximately 40 DACA recipients at NC State, which means that many of the parents and family members of your classmates may be undocumented and in need of sanctuary. This is not an issue that can afford to be ignored by those who are privileged enough to come from a family of natural-born citizens or that do not know the fear that comes with having a parent who is facing deportation.
Sanctuaries and Sanctuary Cities are currently under attack due to harmful legislation. On his fifth day in office, Donald Trump released an executive order that aims to put an end to sanctuaries. The executive order called for a crack down on local governments who do not comply with the federal government’s laws around immigration. This means that undocumented immigrants across the nation who are attempting to seek refuge are more vulnerable and at a higher risk of detainment than ever.
These vulnerable people in our community need our help. While I understand that many students cannot fit volunteering into their schedule, it is important that we at least raise awareness around the need for community support for people in sanctuary. If NC State students at large took the time to simply raise awareness around this issue, they could help increase the number of churches willing to provide sanctuary.
As I think of the current apathy on campus towards social justice issues, I cannot help but think of Martin Niemöller, a Protestant pastor during the Nazi takeover of Germany. He stated, “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”