Socialist Worker

Resistance spreads on US campuses as Trump plans fresh attacks

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2540

A protest against the Muslim ban in Washington DC

A protest against the Muslim ban in Washington DC (Pic: Flickr/Ted Eytan)


US activists are celebrating the decision by a panel of judges that continues the suspension of President Trump's Muslim ban.

An appeal court issued its ruling yesterday, Thursday. It stops enforcement of Trump’s ban on travel from seven predominantly-Muslim countries. It also blocks his ban on the entry of refugees.

The judges’ ruling was down to the pressure from the mass protests that have erupted across the US. But Trump has made clear he now wants to take the case to the Supreme Court. More protests will be needed.

Meanwhile Trump continues to give confidence to those administering racist crackdowns. 

More than 100 undocumented migrants were detained in sweeps in at least five cities in Southern California yesterday.  Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, who came to the US in 1996, was detained on Wednesday and deported to Mexico

Her lawyers said Garcia, who has been detained eight times before, was deported because of Trump’s policies.

That’s why it’s important that the movement against Trump spread further onto university campuses this week.

The battle over “sanctuary campuses” intensified last week as right wingers Milo Yiannopoulos and David Horowitz launched a campaign against them.

The “sanctuary campuses” policy allows undocumented migrants to study at university if they have the requisite qualifications, regardless of their immigration status. Trump had already threatened to cut off their federal funding.

The right had planned to begin their campaign on Wednesday of last week, with Yiannopoulos speaking at a far right rally at the University of California’s Berkeley campus. But it was called off after some 2,000 people protested outside.

Trump responded to the protests by tweeting, “If UC Berkeley does not allow free speech - NO FEDERAL FUNDS?”

Several states have already initiated legislation that would cut off federal funding if universities refuse to comply with federal immigration laws. Alabama’s the state legislature debated a motion this week that would completely remove funding for universities that don’t comply.

Rattled 

Protests have rattled Republican politicians so badly that the party has begun to hold private meetings on how to deal with them. “It is toxic out there,” said Republican congressperson Mark Walker at one such meeting in Washington DC.

“Even some of the guys who have been around here a lot longer than I have, have never seen it to this level.”

While Republicans whimpered behind closed doors, the movement to defend migrants continued to organise on campuses.

Michael Drexler, a professor at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, told Socialist Worker, “We are not technically a sanctuary campus, but the administration has committed to that in all but name. They have made it clear that they will not reveal immigration status unless required to do so by warrant.”

He added, “None of the sanctuary campuses can prevent law enforcement with a court order from entering the campus.

“Symbolically, though, I do think it matters quite a bit.”

In Iowa students and workers walked out in protest when billionaire Betsy DeVos was announced education secretary last Tuesday.

Michael said, “At Bucknell there was a vigil on Monday night and we had a speak-out against attorney general Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos on Thursday too.

“We had 250-300 participants, which is great for Bucknell, and the teach-ins were well attended, too.”

Notre Dame University in Indiana passed a resolution that it would remain a sanctuary campus after 4,000 people signed a petition. The State University of New York also reaffirmed its status as a sanctuary campus.

In Arkansas lawmakers passed a motion refusing to defund universities that didn’t comply with new immigration laws.

Columbia University student Myra Lucero told Socialist Worker, “There is much to work to be done though and it's easy to get discouraged. But resistance is key—as a teacher, woman, and Latina, it is my duty to stand up against injustice in this country.”


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