Our VoiceCulture

Our Universities Should Be “Sanctuary Zones,” Not Enforcement Agencies


Cloee Cooper • Jan 25, 2012

Click here to view a video discussing The Tanton Network

Every person deserves the right to the pursuit of knowledge. Academic institutions should not be places where bigotry and racism are endorsed. Yet nativist ideologies and organizations continue to pave a legislative and ideological path which restricts education to some.

Nativist organizations are making headway in the legislative battle to make education exclusive.

Georgia’s HB 87 restricts undocumented students from attending any public college. In Alabama, their version of SB1070, HB 56, bars undocumented students from enrolling in or attending public colleges. In addition, it requires every school district to submit an annual report on the number of presumed undocumented immigrants to the state education board.

Legislative efforts to restrict education based on race and ethnicity have been coupled with grassroots efforts.

The nation’s leading anti-immigrant coalition, known as the Tanton Network, has a hand in this effort. White nationalist John Tanton founded organizations including FAIR and CIS on the way to forming a broad specturm of organizations consisting of lobbyists, lawyers, legislators, and “experts” that have sought to permeate nearly all reaches of social and political debate in this country.

A nativist initiative on college campuses, Youth for Western Civilization (YWC) has been supported by the Tanton Network’s former House Immigration Reform Caucus leader, Tom Tancredo.  The organization’s mission, which has active chapters on eight campuses, is to “defend the west on campus.”

The Tanton Network includes college and university professors, as well. And beyond that, the nativist movement has a history of working within academic institutions to further white nationalist and nativist ideologies. The white nationalist scholarly quarterly journal titled “The Social Contract,” which was founded by John Tanton in 1990, is one example.

Campuses can take a stand against Nativist attempts to restrict education. Campuses should become “Sanctuary Zones,” and stand for the pursuit of knowledge for all individuals. It is time to oppose nativism, to stand strong for inclusive, diverse communities and the right for all people to pursue education.

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