A small technical college in western Kansas is vowing to keep federal immigration officials off campus unless they have a court order.
The president of Northwest Kansas Technical College in Goodland, Ben Schears, said his school “would go to every effort” to protect students who want to pursue an education, including students who are undocumented immigrants.
Schears, at a meeting of Kansas college and university presidents in Topeka on Wednesday, said that after the Trump administration announced plans to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, he made the decision to take what the school considers “to be a pretty hard stance.”
The Justice Department has since announced it is ending DACA while also giving Congress a six-month window to possibly save the policy launched under the Obama administration. The policy protects from deportation many young, undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children.
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“We’ve got some students that are DACA students,” said Schears, according to the Lawrence Journal World. “We would not allow ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) on campus without a court order...”
Typically Kansas colleges have allowed admission and given instate tuition rates to students who are not citizens but have lived most their lives in the U.S. and attended and graduated from Kansas schools.
Northwest Kansas Technical College has about 870 students. Last year fewer than 30 were “nonresident aliens,” the Kansas Board of Regents said.
Schears sent a campus-wide message earlier this month expressing the school’s position and hoping to ease concerns he’d heard from undocumented students worried they would have to halt their educations.
Schears said he told the students the community college would do everything it could to help and encouraged them not to give up.
Leaders of other Kansas colleges have said that while there are likely fewer DACA students on their campuses they still would like to see the issue resolved.
Regents President and CEO Blake Flanders told the Journal World that campus presidents across the state “really want a long-term solution... It’s a federal solution, and that’s what we’re waiting on.”