The president of American University on Tuesday rejected calls to become a "sanctuary" campus, but offered her support to students who could be affected by the Trump administration's decision to rescind President Obama's immigration initiative known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
"While some presidents have declared their campuses as 'sanctuaries,' we agree with the findings of many other universities and respected immigration attorneys that asserting such a status would have no basis in the law," American University President and former Health and Human Services Secretary under President Obama, Sylvia Burwell, said in e-mail to students obtained by the Washington Examiner Tuesday.
"The institution does not have the authority to exempt itself from federal immigration law. I share the concerns of others that claiming such status could be counterproductive, and could lead to greater risk for our students," Burwell added.
The former Obama official stressed that she was optimistic for congressional action and pledged that the university's police will not assist the federal government in immigration enforcement, unless required by law.
"AU will not disclose private information about our students, faculty, or staff to law enforcement officers unless presented with a warrant, subpoena, court order or other legal requirement, or authorized by the student. AU Police will not act as agents for or assist the federal government in immigration enforcement actions unless required by law," Burwell said.
Burwell also noted a number of resources the school was making available to DACA recipients including legal assistance through the university's law school along with replacement resources for employment that funds their studies if their work permits are revoked.
"We are committed to our undocumented students and will use every legal means at our disposal to offer our support and protection," Burwell said.