SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The University of California has made a bold pledge to protect its students who entered the country illegally, saying it will not assist government agencies trying to enforce federal immigration laws.
In a “Statement of Principles,” UC President Janet Napolitano says the system’s 10 campuses will also refuse to turn over confidential student records without court orders or cooperate with any federal effort to create a national registry based on race, religion or national origin.
Napolitano has repeatedly sought to ensure undocumented students they can feel safe on UC campuses since the election of Donald Trump, who made illegal immigration a key point of his campaign.
The new measures mark the first formal “system-wide policy” approach to federal immigration issues, UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein said Thursday.
Earlier this month, California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White made a similar pledge that its 23 campuses would remain “safe and welcoming” for all students and would not help local, state or federal authorities enforce federal immigration laws.
The UC and Cal State campuses make up the country’s largest public university system.
In her statement issued Wednesday, Napolitano said the University of California “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.”
Also, UC campuses will continue to admit all eligible students and UC medical centers will treat all patients without regard to immigration status. Campus police officers will not contact, detain, question or arrest anyone solely on the basis of their undocumented status, the statement said.
Trump vowed during his campaign to create a “deportation force” and to end temporary protective status for students in the U.S. illegally.
Since the election, college campuses across the country have declared themselves sanctuaries for undocumented students, staff and family members who might face deportation.
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