By Jason Chulack–UC Merced
December 1, 2016
Originally published at TheCollegeFix.com
University of California President Janet Napolitano has announced that system leaders will protect and defend students in the country illegally — and will advise campus cops to do the same.
Napolitano — who served as Secretary of Homeland Security under the Obama administration, charged with protecting the nation’s borders — put out a statementWednesday that her office will “vigorously protect the privacy and civil rights of the undocumented members of the UC community and will direct its police departments not to undertake joint efforts with any government agencies to enforce federal immigration law.”
The announcement comes as students in the country illegally and their peer allies are distraught that there might be mass deportations of undocumented students under a Donald Trump presidency. Many student leaders have announced their schools are “sanctuary campuses.” Now campus leaders are essentially following suit.
According to Napolitano’s office, there are about 2,500 undocumented students enrolled across the 10-campus UC system.
“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 stated.
In an op-ed published Wednesday in The New York Times, Napolitano argues there is precedent to direct law enforcement on such matters.
“Prioritizing the use of resources in law enforcement is nothing new. It is known as ‘prosecutorial discretion,’ and we can see it all around us — from local police departments deciding whom to pull over instead of stopping every speeding car to federal prosecutors focusing on larger financial fraud instead of going after every bad check,” she wrote.
She went on to argue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, is not the same as amnesty.
“Some of the debate about the future of DACA suggests that it provides Dreamers an official immigration status or a pathway to citizenship. As the memorandum establishing the program made clear, this is not the case. Only Congress has the power to confer those rights,” she wrote.
“Rather, the program reflects the executive branch doing what it properly does every day — making decisions about how to best use resources within the framework of existing law. There is no reason to abandon these sensible priorities now.”
With that, the University of California also issued its “Statement of Principles in Support of Undocumented Members of the UC Community,” outlining measures they will take to protect DACA students:
The University will continue to admit students consistent with its nondiscrimination policies so that undocumented students will be considered for admission under the same criteria as U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
No confidential student records will be released without a judicial warrant, subpoena or court order, unless authorized by the student or required by law.
No UC campus police department will undertake joint efforts with local, state or federal law enforcement agencies to investigate, detain or arrest individuals for violation of federal immigration law.
Campus police officers will not contact, detain, question or arrest any individual solely on the basis of (suspected) undocumented immigration status.
The University will not cooperate with any federal effort to create a registry of individuals based on any protected characteristics such as religion, national origin, race or sexual orientation.
UC medical centers will treat all patients without regard to race, religion, national origin, citizenship or other protected characteristics and will vigorously enforce nondiscrimination and privacy laws and policies.
A spokesperson for Napolitano’s office told The College Fix on Wednesday they were unable to give a further statement at this time.
This is not the first time Napolitano has protected and supported DACA students.
In May, her office announced an earmark of $25.2 million from the system’s taxpayer-funded coffers to help support a variety of programs that assist undocumented UC students.
System leaders pledged $8.4 million a year for the next three school years — a total of $25.2 million through 2019 — for undocumented student support across its 10 campuses.
Part of that aid will be used to fund the system’s DREAM loan program, as well as for student services staff coordinators, “targeted undergraduate and graduate fellowships,” textbooks, and undocumented legal services.