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CSU won’t question documentation

California State University will continue to support students regardless of documentation.

Michael Garcia, Staff Writer

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California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White declared in an open letter published Nov. 17 that CSU campuses will not cooperate with local, state or any federal department for the enforcement of federal immigration laws on campuses.

“Our duty is to protect our students and enforce what we have coming down from the Chancellor’s office,” Director of the Dream Success Center Rafael Topete said. “Our duty is not to enforce immigration [laws]. This is a federal law and should involve federal officers.”

This policy is similar to sanctuary cities, but the university cannot promise to declare itself as a “sanctuary” because the term does not have a solid legal definition and can be misleading.

Sanctuary cities have laws or policies that protect undocumented immigrants and most prevent police from asking individuals about their immigration status.

Elizabeth Chapin, manager of public affairs at the CSU Office of the Chancellor, said that there have not been any changes to immigration policies within the CSU and the use of the term “sanctuary” could lead to misplaced confidence among the school body.

The letter states that CSUs will continue to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all faculty, staff and students and reinforces that diversity and inclusivity are fundamental values of the CSU system.

“Our university police departments will not honor immigration hold requests and our university police do not contact, detain, question or arrest individuals solely on the basis of being – or suspected of being – a person [who] lacks documentation,” White said in the letter.

Cal State Long Beach President Jane Close Conoley said that CSULB is a strong supporter of the chancellor’s nationwide principles and General Order 55.

President Conoley announced General Order 55, which instructs CSULB police on how to deal with detained undocumented individuals, in May.

“Since the summertime, we’ve adopted a policy forbidding police from conducting with ICE,” Conoley said. “We will protect information on DACA students. Students will never be hassled on their citizenship status and we are not welcoming ICE on our campus.”

“We’re going to work with all students regardless of documentation,” Topete said. “We are supportive of our students and we are not going to cooperate with ICE in terms of reinforcement.”

Conoley said that it was important to have this message sent out because some students were left with anxiety after the election.

“Some people are really excited while others are very worried. We want to inform the administration about the benefits of students on DACA status and that our pathway will be to create a safe and secure campus for all of our students.”

Conoley said that she will continue to advocate on the federal level to lobby support for a reasonable immigration law.

California university leaders sent a letter signed by more than 350 college presidents from across the United States on Tuesday asking President-elect Donald Trump to allow DACA students to continue their education without the risk of deportation.

“Our duty is to protect our students and enforce what we have coming down from the chancellor’s office,” Topete said. “Our duty is not to enforce immigration [laws]. This is a federal law and should involve federal officers.”

There is also the possibility of federal funding being cut to CSU campuses acting as sanctuaries. According to a CNN Money article, “Sanctuary cities risk billions in defiance of Trump,” sanctuary cities like Chicago, Los Angeles and New York could get their funding cut as part of Trump’s immigration plan. If he would extend this policy to university’s,

“It’s always a threat and there are a lot of funds to lose,” Topete said. “Even if half of our students are on Pell Grants that’s 15,000 students and the average Pell Grant is about $5,000 – that’s a lot of money to lose.”

Other programs that risk losing federal funding include Student Support Services which help low-income, first generation to college and students with disabilities. The program receives about $1 million a year in federal funding.

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