- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 1, 2016

The University of California system announced Wednesday that campus police will not undertake joint efforts with any law enforcement agencies to investigate students suspected of breaking federal immigration laws.

Police officers at the UC’s 10 campuses will not contact, detain, question or arrest any individual solely on the basis of immigration status, except as required by law, the school system said in a statement.

The move comes in response to the election of Donald Trump, who has promised a widespread crackdown on illegal immigration.

“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, the former secretary of Homeland Security under President Obama, said in a release.

Anita Casavantes Bradford, who heads UC Irvine’s Committee on Equity and Inclusion for Undocumented Students, said she was reassured by Ms. Napolitano’s statement, the Orange County Register reported.

“They are among our most talented, motivated and engaged students,” she said. “They are an important asset to our university and our communities, and I’m glad that President Napolitano has shown, through her principled statement and actions, that she also recognizes the contributions that undocumented young people and their families make to our state.”

On Tuesday, Ms. Napolitano, Cal State chancellor Timothy White and Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor-designate of California Community Colleges, sent a joint letter to Mr. Trump asking him let the students in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), or Dreamers, continue their higher education “without fear of being arrested, deported, or rounded up for just trying to learn.”

Mr. Trump has said he will terminate DACA, an executive action signed into law by President Obama in 2012 that gives undocumented students temporary legal residence and a two-year work permit. A wave of campus protests across the country are now calling for their schools to be turned into sanctuary campuses for undocumented students. As of Thursday afternoon, 440 university presidents had signed a letter supporting DACA.

Ms. Napolitano, who as secretary of Homeland Security signed DACA in 2012, wrote an op-ed for The New York Times on Wednesday defending the program.

“Dreamers, among other requirements, came to the United States as children, developed deep roots in the country and have become valuable contributors to their community. They must be in high school or have a diploma, or be a veteran, and they cannot have been convicted of a felony or major misdemeanor,” she wrote.

“Today, there are nearly three-quarters of a million Dreamers who no longer have to constantly fear an encounter with an immigration enforcement agent. Instead, they can live, study and work freely. Many are now studying at the system I lead, the University of California,” she continued.

“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,” Ms. Napolitano 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.”

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