Hofstra’s President Creates A Safe Haven For Immigrant Students

(Photo/Hofstra University)

Stuart Rabinowitz, president of Hofstra University and the former dean of Hofstra Law School, has spoken out repeatedly against the recent compromising of legal protections for immigrants. He has also placed Hofstra firmly in opposition to the intolerant rhetoric from the Trump administration and its restrictive policies.

Following the election of Donald Trump, Rabinowitz joined in a letter from college presidents calling for the new chief executive to “take a more forceful stand against harassment, hate, and acts of violence.” He also authorized the creation of a new deportation clinic at the law school to facilitate the defense of immigrants arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). And, he defended the legal status of young immigrants protected by the DACA program.

In January 2017, President Rabinowitz addressed the university community saying, “let me state that without reservation or exception, there is no space for intolerance or prejudice at Hofstra University.”

He informed students that Hofstra would not share information with ICE absent a court order and that the university would be a “sensitive location” where they could attend school without fear of actions by ICE not authorized by the law. He assured all members of the university community that the campus police would not “inquire about immigration status or participate with any law enforcement agency to ascertain immigration status.”

When the Muslim travel ban went into effect a few days after the inauguration, President Rabinowitz spoke out in defense of the many scholars prevented from boarding planes and detained in airports. He also assisted a Hofstra student caught up in the nan’s effects.

In the spring of 2017, Hofstra’s Deportation Defense Clinic began operations.

“Our law school has a long history of representing immigrants through our nationally recognized clinical programs, and this new clinic deepens our commitment to this community, as well as to the values of civic engagement, diversity and tolerance that are at the heart of Hofstra’s mission,” President Rabinowitz said at the time. Putting the university morally and financially behind the protection of immigrants was a ray of light in a dark time.

Since then, the clinic has defended scores of immigrants and trained more than two dozen law students. With three attorneys working there every day, it has become a major resource for Long Island’s immigrant community.

Rabinowitz has long worked to use the university’s resources and prestige to defend marginalized communities and his current role on behalf of immigrants has garnered widespread recognition.

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