At UNM, as with other schools around the nation, keeping students safe on campus is a priority. One of the areas this is most true is in terms of our undocumented students. In the coming months and years, students and faculty can be proactive in maintaining the safety of our Dreamers.
With so many changes happening in terms of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), we as students want to put out some important information about things you can do to keep yourself and other students safe.
First, we wanted to let current DACA students know that the deadline for renewing DACA registration is October 5th. Until that date, the UNM Law School will be offering free help with renewal paperwork for those whose benefits will expire between Sept. 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018.
Additionally, we should begin by clarifying the difference between a judicial and administrative warrant. A judicial warrant is signed in court by an impartial judge and must be obtained under oath through presentation of the facts. An administrative warrant, on the other hand, is signed in the office by an ICE administrator or sometimes the ICE officers themselves. As a result, administrative warrants have been deemed legally invalid.
As a final note for current U.S. citizens, it is always important to defer to Dreamers when making decisions about what to do in sensitive situations.
If ICE comes knocking…
1. ICE officers have no official uniform and are not held accountable for telling the truth.
The fact of the matter is: ICE lies. Agents are almost always plainclothesmen, and they can threaten you with anything to scare you.
If they tell you that you are not allowed to videotape what they are doing, that you have to open the door to your home, or that you have to tell them what you know, none of this is true, unless they have and can provide a valid and accurate judicial warrant.
2. You don’t have to tell ICE anything. Whatever they may tell you, you have the right to remain silent.
Faculty and staff, this means that you do not have to answer any questions—in fact, FERPA probably requires that you don’t answer any questions—about a student’s whereabouts or class attendance without a judicial warrant. And this is important: ICE officers almost never have a judicial warrant.
3. No one should reveal their citizenship status to an ICE official.
If everyone claims the right to remain silent, the safety of the group is increased.
U.S. citizens, this is where it becomes important for us to stand firmly beside our friends and classmates. If a U.S. citizen is taken into custody by ICE, the worst that can happen is being released once citizenship is confirmed. If an undocumented immigrant is taken into custody by ICE, things could be much worse.
4. ICE cannot enter a private or “limited access” space without an invitation or a judicial/criminal warrant.
Private spaces are places like your home, dorm room, or even your classroom. Limited access spaces broaden to include any space which requires special permission or keys to enter. Hokona Hall would be a limited access space (you need your fob to enter) whereas your room in Hokona is a private space. Elementary schools, which require sign-ins for guests, and offices with confidential information can also be limited access spaces.
As a general rule, never open a locked door for an ICE official. That could be taken as consent to let them enter. If an ICE officer has a legislative warrant, they will come in whether you open the door or not. If they don’t have a judicial warrant, the worst they can do is knock and yell and threaten.
5. According to the UNM Faculty Handbook, Section D75, faculty have control over who enters their classrooms.
Technically, schools are considered sensitive spaces along with churches and hospitals, so ICE officers are supposed to avoid making arrests or conducting raids at colleges or universities if possible. However, this does not mean that it has not been done before.
The following are quotes from the Faculty Handbook, stating that faculty can ask any uninvited guests to leave or call UNMPD if they refuse. Faculty: If ICE comes into your classroom looking for a student, you can ask them to leave. Unless they have a judicial warrant, you have the right to refuse them entry.
“University policy permits only enrolled students, persons authorized by the instructor, and administrative personnel to be admitted to instructional areas during scheduled periods.”
“Any person or persons in unauthorized attendance or causing a disturbance during scheduled academic activity shall be identified by the instructor and asked to leave. Persons refusing such a request may be removed by the University Police and are liable to legal prosecution.”
In summary, we want UNM to be a safe space for everyone. If ICE searches become more common or frequent in the coming months, make sure you’re prepared. Know your rights, and learn how to respond.
For more information about UNM campus resources, please go to https://elcentro.unm.edu/undocu-resources/on-campus-resources.html
If you would like to learn more about how to make UNM a more welcoming space for our undocumented students, please consider attending a Dream Zone training.