UC vows to protect its undocumented students; will not enforce federal immigration laws

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Photo courtesy of ASIS International.

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The University of California announced Wednesday afternoon that it will not collaborate with government agencies to enforce federal immigration law.

The official statement listed policies that would protect undocumented UC community members from being detained or questioned by campus police based on immigration status. Other policies include upholding UC’s nondiscriminatory admission policy and refusing to contribute to a federal registry based on religion, national origin, race, or sexual orientation.

Other principles included in the statement:

  • Confidential student records will not be released unless required by the law.
  • UC campus police departments will not work with local, state, or federal law enforcement agencies to investigate, detain, or arrest individuals for violating federal immigration law.
  • UC medical centers will not refuse to provide treatment based on race, religion, national origin, citizenship, or other characteristics.

The principles were announced following a meeting on Wednesday with undocumented student support staff from all ten UC campuses. Since the presidential election, UC President Janet Napolitano has advocated for policies to support undocumented students.

While we still do not know what policies and practices the incoming federal administration may adopt, given the many public pronouncements made during the presidential campaign and its aftermath, we felt it necessary to reaffirm that UC will act upon its deeply held conviction that all members of our community have the right to work, study, and live safely and without fear at all UC locations,” Napolitano said in a press release.

The announcement from the office of the UC President came a day after Napolitano, California State University Chancellor Timothy White, and California Community College Chancellor-Designate Eloy Oakley sent a letter to President-Elect Donald Trump. The California college leaders strongly advocated for Trump to uphold the federal program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Since President Obama effected DACA under an executive order in 2012, 720,000 qualifying undocumented people have been granted deferred action on deportation proceedings and legal pathways to apply for work permits and driver’s licenses. For undocumented students in particular, DACA has granted opportunities of higher education and professional careers without threats of deportation. On the campaign trail, Trump promised to discontinue all executive orders established by the Obama administration.

Although UCSD does not record the status of its undocumented students, an estimated 270 receive financial aid this school year through AB 540 and the California Dream Act, according to UCSD Undocumented Student Services Director Daniel Alfarro.

Shine Cho is the News Editor at The Triton and can be reached at news@triton.news.

Photo Credit: Janet Napolitano via Flickr (license)

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