UC Drops Plan to Hire Illegal Immigrant Students

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UC President Michael Drake recommended regents vote against the proposal during the meeting, saying it would have come with too many legal risks.

The University of California (UC) will not allow its campuses to hire illegal immigrant students for jobs, University of California officials announced Jan. 25.

The public university’s Board of Regents voted 10–6 on Thursday to postpone for one year the consideration of a policy that would allow UC’s 10 campuses to hire students without legal status for on-campus positions.

UC President Michael Drake recommended regents vote against the proposal during the meeting, saying it “would have been the right thing to do,” but it would have come with too many legal risks.

“I know that many in our community will be disappointed that we are unable to take immediate action. As an individual, I would like nothing more than to do so right here, right now, because it is the right thing to do,” Mr. Drake said. “However, we have a fiduciary responsibility to consider all possible ramifications of our actions.”

Some such risks include civil fines, criminal penalties, and blocking the university system from federal contracts, he said, also noting that UC’s human resources staff would be put at risk of prosecution if they “knowingly participate in hiring practices deemed impermissible under federal law.”

Additionally, the president said illegal immigrant students themselves and their families could face prosecution or even deportation.

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In the meantime, Mr. Drake said, the system will focus on expanding the support it’s currently providing to such students with its various programs, while also urging state and federal lawmakers to repeal restrictions on hiring illegal immigrants.

Before the vote, hundreds of the proposal’s supporters held a hunger strike for three days.

“Our university let us down today,” Jeffry Munoz, a UCLA student and leader of the Undocumented Student-Led Network, said in a statement released after the board’s decision.

“Our classmates can apply for any job on campus, helping them not only get by financially on a daily basis but also advancing their careers, while we remain forced to rely on incredibly limited resources,” he said. “This is not the end of our fight for equality.”

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