Thursday, December 22, 2016

They're angry anyway - Part 2

We noted in a posting yesterday that despite UC prez Napolitano's avoidance of the "sanctuary" word in describing UC's policy regarding undocumented students, at least one California member of Congress nevertheless threatened a cutoff of federal funding. (UC's policy is essentially that UC police won't be engaged in immigration law enforcement.)

Ex officio Regent Tom Torlakson, the state superintendent of public instruction, wants school districts to declare themselves "safe places" for such students, according to a statement issued yesterday.* He was speaking of K-12 districts but would presumably take the same position at the Regents. There may well be discussion of such matters at the Regents' January meeting.

It appears, however, that even if you don't call the announced UC policy anything - the current official posture - you get a hostile reaction from some in Congress. So labeling the policy or not labeling it doesn't seem to matter. In fact, it is unclear how much protection UC can provide since so-called "DREAM" students registered with the federal government in order to regularize their status temporarily. Thus, they are already known to immigration authorities.

UC, apart from the immigration issue, is already potentially in conflict with the incoming administration on the climate change issue. As we have noted, the national/DOE labs - in which UC has a managerial role - have employees who may be threatened, based on their past research. The Trump transition team requested the names of such employees from DOE, a request which was refused by the outgoing Obama administration. But after January 20, DOE will be in other hands.

The DOE labs are often reviewed at Regents meetings and this matter might also come up in January.

1 comment:

Toby Higbie said...

Dan: in my humble opinion, those in Congress and the incoming administration who advocate mass deportation of undocumented immigrants and/or deny the validity of climate science are not going to be assuaged by careful wording. But that doesn't mean careful wording is a waste of time, or politically unwise. I consider the threat of deporting students to be a grave attack on our academic community, something that faculty should oppose on ethical grounds and grounds of self-interest.

The only thing the new administration will appreciate is a unified political opposition to their policies. The implicit threat of cutting research funding in response to non-compliance with immigration policy is an obvious wedge issue designed to break up opposition. So while not everyone will agree with UCOP's statements on immigration, I think it is certainly a step in the right direction and I applaud President Napolitano for doing the right thing. I think she should do more, maybe you disagree. But the idea that we should hand over students to ICE is very, very toxic to the intellectual community we hope to nurture here at UCLA.