Emory University is considering becoming a sanctuary campus for undocumented students, and the mere possibility has riled Rep. Earl Ehrhart. The Powder Springs conservative is no stranger to bullying, and once again may use his position as a state legislator to target a specific university over specific policies he disagrees with.
“There’s a raft of state taxpayer dollars for private institutions,” Ehrhart told the AJC, “and I’m very sanguine about being able to pass a piece of legislation that says if you’re picking and choosing which laws you’re going to follow, state dollars aren’t going to follow.”
Emory was responding to an open letter signed by over a thousand students, staff, faculty and alumni asking for the school, “to move beyond public statements conveying sympathy and symbolic support. Instead, we urgently demand concrete actions by Emory University to protect all students….”
The letter asks Emory to increase legal, financial and mental health support for undocumented students, and to create clear policies to protect student information (and students themselves) from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Emory officials responded with their own public letter, saying “We will continue to welcome and support DACA students as members of our university community,” adding that in the coming weeks Emory will be, “evaluating how best to serve those in our community whose immigration status puts them at risk.”
President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly stated that he plans to immediately deport two to three million people and plans to nominate staunchly anti-immigrant Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General.
This has left many DACA students — that is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — understandably concerned that the information they provided in order to gain DACA status will now make it very easy for the Trump administration to find and deport them.
Whether or not Emory decides to become a sanctuary campus, it’s clear that undocumented students on their campus (and undocumented folks around the nation) face an incredibly uncertain future, and will need additional support if even a fraction of Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda is successful.
Ehrhart, meanwhile, seems determined to foil any attempts from Emory to provide additional support to DACA students and undocumented students that may be targets for deportation.
With a history of bullying institutions — like Georgia Tech — into compliance with his hateful beliefs, Ehrhart is a formidable foe. He has previously targeted LGBT student groups, an art exhibit on AIDS, survivors of sexual assault, people of color and now undocumented students, too.
But all students deserve to be safe on campus, and Ehrhart can’t always get what he wants.