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California's Two Main University Systems Vow Not To Help Deport Undocumented Students

The University of California has joined the Cal State Universities system in reaffirming commitments to not cooperate with federal immigration officials on deportations.

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The University of California system on Wednesday joined California State Universities in refusing to work with immigration officials on deportations of 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,” UC President Janet Napolitano said in a statement.

Napolitano said the colleges would not release confidential student records without a judicial warrant, subpoena, or court order. Its police departments will also be directed not to work with any authorities in detaining or arresting people for federal immigration violations. Among other actions, the UCs will also not cooperate with any federal efforts to create a national registry of people based on religion, national origin, race or sexual orientation.

Earlier this month, the California State Universities, the largest four-year public university system in the US, also reaffirmed its commitment to undocumented students, saying it also would not aid authorities on deportations.

“Unless directed by California government code or required by law, the CSU will not enter into an agreement with state or local law enforcement agencies, ICE, or any other federal agency for the enforcement of federal immigration law,” Chancellor Timothy White said at a board of trustees meeting earlier this month.

White also said CSU police will not honor requests from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hold people suspected of being in the country illegally. He also said school police would not contact, detain, question, or arrest someone because they are suspected of being undocumented.

Toni Molle, a spokeswoman for the CSU, said White was merely reaffirming existing policy.

His comments come as students across the nation staged walkouts demanding that their universities adopt sanctuary-like policies when it comes to deportation.

I'm proud to stand w the students of @nyuniversity as they demand our campus remain a sanctuary for the undocumented

The sanctuary movement was reinvigorated by Donald Trump’s successful presidential bid and in anticipation of the deportation efforts he promised on the campaign trail. While Trump previously said all 11 million undocumented immigrants should be deported, he has in recent days said he is going to focus on 2-3 million unauthorized immigrants with criminal records.

The CSU doesn’t track how many of its students are undocumented. However, they do track how many students apply for AB 540 waivers, which undocumented students use to avoid having to pay out-of-state tuition.

The latest figures from fall of 2015 shows that 10,037 students received the waivers across all of the system’s 23 campuses.


Adolfo Flores is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Adolfo Flores at adolfo.flores@buzzfeed.com.

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