An initial reaction to President Eisgruber ’83’s message re the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy and sanctuary campuses (On the Campus, Jan. 11), with two acknowledgments first: 1) Care and caution from the University’s administration are certainly understandable, given the tremendous uncertainty swirling around these subjects; and 2) I am not an attorney.
I am, however, a Princeton alum who considers himself a progressive, and also the co-owner of a small business with some direct experience with immigration/employment regulations, i.e., the “law.” So I must say that I’m underwhelmed and feeling ready to be disappointed by the University’s stance on this. I’ll accept the analysis by the University’s advisers that there is currently and historically no basis in the law for sanctuary campuses, but I think that is clearly a rather narrow and tenuous position. For many decades, there was no basis in the law of the United States for voting rights for African Americans or women.
President Eisgruber has strongly stated Princeton’s embrace of the rule of law; I support that position broadly, deeply, but with limits. Beyond those limits, there is a legitimate role, legally and morally, for civil disobedience. If policies and events come to demand it, I hope the University will not rule out the option of itself undertaking civil disobedience. As it says on our new medallion in front of Nassau Hall, “In the nation’s service and the service of humanity.”