Greater Mansfield community calls for Mansfield to be sanctuary city

Members of the mansfield community including UConn students attended the weekly Town council meeting on Nov. 28 in the Town Hall to urge the council to pass an ordinance that would make Mansfield a sanctuary city. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

University of Connecticut students and professors, as well as residents of the town of Mansfield, called for the Mansfield Town Council to pass an ordinance which would declare Mansfield a sanctuary city for undocumented individuals – in light of Donald Trump’s election and his comments regarding US immigration policy – at a Mansfield Town Council meeting Monday evening.

“It’s one thing to claim to be a sanctuary city, and another to actually enact policy to be one,” said fifth-year sociology major Varun Khattar. “This isn’t just symbolic.”

An individual who expressed his support for the ordinance called for it in order to prevent Mansfield officials from having to adhere to federal immigration policy.  

“It [is] absolutely essential that our town take action to reaffirm our commitment to the fundamental human rights and basic dignity of every member of our community,” said assistant professor of human rights and education Glenn Mitoma. “Among such actions would be the establishment of a sanctuary city ordinance that would protect the residents, visitors and others [of Mansfield] from enforcement of federal immigration policies by town officials.”

UConn students who spoke in favor of such an ordinance were associated with the group Connecticut Students for a Dream, fifth-semester allied health major and human rights minor Katherine C. Villeda said.

“[Connecticut Students for a Dream] is a statewide network of undocumented students and their allies,” Villeda said.

There are about 100 undocumented students at UConn, according to Villeda.  

Villeda said the students who expressed their support of the ordinance wished to show solidarity with undocumented students at UConn.

“[The ordinance] really helps with the mental health aspect of undocumented students,” Villeda said. “[The ordinance] would mean physical safety and mental health.”

The students did not plan for residents of Mansfield to speak in support of the ordinance at the meeting, seventh-semester human development and family studies major Farzana Zubair said.

“We weren’t contacting [Mansfield residents] to come here,” Zubair said.

UConn students who spoke in favor of the ordinance will continue to fight for it to be approved, according to Zubair.

“We want to hear back from the town council before the end of the calendar year,” Zubair said. “We’ll probably come back in December if it doesn’t seem like it’s a priority for them.”


Alexandra Retter is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at alexandra.retter@uconn.edu.