Republican candidates for the 45th district on sanctuary campuses

Republican candidates for California’s 45 district include Lisa Sparks, dean of Chapman’ s School of Communication, Greg Raths, mayor of Mission Viejo, Don Sedgwick, mayor of Laguna Hills and Peggy Huang, a Yorba Linda City Councilwoman. EMMA REITH Art Director

Four candidates for the 45th district shared their thoughts on whether college campuses should have sanctuary policies

Sanctuary counties and cities are common in states like California, Washington, Oregon and New York. A sanctuary city is described as a city that limits cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration agents in order to bring protections to the undocumented community.

After the 2016 election, the term “sanctuary campus” began to appear after students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) were worried about the reversal of the program and potential deportations. Many campuses are hesitant of having such title because of the possibility of losing federal funding.

Chapman does not explicitly state that it is a sanctuary campus on its website, but it does not keep track of the number of undocumented students. Wendy M., whose parents are undocumented immigrants, is a freshman film production major and advocates for sanctuary campuses because she believes undocumented immigrants have the right to a safe space, especially within the United States higher education system.

“I already felt so much fear just being at college and experiencing something new,” Wendy said. “(Worrying about deportation) on top of that would just be terrifying.”

The Panther spoke to Republican candidates running for The House of Representatives in the 45th district this week to get their thoughts on “sanctuary campuses,” as the 2020 campaign continues to focus on the college experience. Each candidate’s answers have been lightly edited for clarity and stylistic standards. Lisa Sparks is the dean of Chapman’s School of Communication and serves on the Orange County Board of Education. She gave a statement to The Panther in a Nov. 1 email.

“Chapman University stands behind each of its students and employees whose families face challenges due to identity or immigration status. We will do everything possible to support students and to help all to complete their degree program at Chapman,” read the email.

“The system is broken, and Congress should be ashamed for being utterly unable to face it. The inability of Congress to deal with immigration reform has led to presidential overreaches such as DACA. When I am elected, I will work to design a system that takes advantage of the strengths that immigrants bring to our country, in a way that makes sense for America. Any good immigration system has to have checks and balances, and regulations that need to be easy to understand and to implement.”

Don Sedgwick is the mayor of Laguna Hills and was on Saddleback Valley Unified School District’s board for 18 years. He spoke to The Panther in a Nov. 1 interview.

Q: Should college campuses be considered a “sanctuary?” Why or why not?

A: I don’t believe that we have the right to disregard the law anywhere. I think that the rule of our educators is to teach kids. It’s not to police them or to get into the business of immigration enforcement. But the role of our educators is to do what they do best and that’s just to educate kids and that should be the law enforcement to those that are in that business. To support any organization that disregards the law or disregards a government agency is not something that I would support.

Q: The chancellor of the California State University (CSU) system declared that the CSUs wouldn’t be aiding in deportations but that the campuses won’t be sanctuaries. What are your thoughts on this interpretation of campus sanctuary?

A: I think that colleges can provide resources for their students to help them on their path to have them move forward. I just don’t think it is the rule of colleges and educators to get them in the immigration. The role of the educators is to educate students. I think that the immigration is up to the individuals who seek citizenship to go forward and the proper legal process. Greg Raths is the mayor of Mission Viejo and a Marine Corps veteran. He spoke to The Panther Oct. 31.

Q: Should college campuses be considered a “sanctuary?” Why or why not?

A: I have no problem with that. I don’t like to see law enforcement going into classrooms, but if there’s a hardened criminal they’ve tracked to campus and they feel it’s best to apprehend that person who is a hardened criminal, I have no problem with law enforcement going in, but generally as a whole I’d like to keep law enforcement out unless it’s a hardened criminal.

Q: The chancellor of the CSU system declared that the CSUs wouldn’t be aiding in deportations but that the campuses won’t be sanctuaries. What are your thoughts on this interpretation of campus sanctuary?

A: I think it goes back to the previous question I answered. If they track a hardened criminal, like rape, large sums of money being stolen, capital crime. I have no problem with law enforcement going in and apprehending that person. I am against law enforcement going to a classroom looking for undocumented people. I don’t think that’s a proper place for law enforcement to be during a school day at a university.

Peggy Huang is a representative in the Yorba Linda City Council and the Transportation Corridor Agencies. She spoke to The Panther Oct. 31.

Q: Should college campuses be considered a “sanctuary?” Why or why not?

A: No, because what it does is it allows for policy makers to avoid the responsibility to fix America’s immigration system. The longer you have these sanctuary system or exceptions or policies running around, it allows congress to avoid its responsibility to come up with comprehensive immigration policy. But continuing use of exceptions and sanctuaries and DACA, it keeps us avoiding a comprehensive system. When I say come up with comprehensive reform, it has to be bipartisan. You’re going to lose people on both sides of the aisle who aren’t going to vote for you, but you need to solve this problem; we can’t have islands all over the country.

Q: The chancellor of the CSU system declared that the CSUs wouldn’t be aiding in deportations but that the campuses won’t be sanctuaries. What are your thoughts on this interpretation of campus sanctuary?

A: I think what he’s saying is that he doesn’t want the sanctuary college idea, because you have these criminals running around. But you can’t choose to follow one part of the rules and not follow the others. When we talk about deportations in the criminal setting these are people who are convicted of a crime and because of the crimes that they commit, they are subject to deportation. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) only goes to college campuses to find people who are subject to deportation purposes because they have a criminal conviction. I think it’s really important to have that message understood, that’s what my problem has been, that people are clumping them (undocumented immigrants) all together.