Illegal immigrants demand guaranteed jobs from UC-Berkeley
- A University of California, Berkeley student group recently blasted the school for trying to “take credit” for a student-led campaign on behalf of an illegal immigrant student detained by ICE.
- Demanding more-concrete action from Chancellor Carol Christ, the group went so far as to insist that she ensure that all illegal immigrant students “have access to a job and other basic needs.”
A University of California, Berkeley student group recently blasted the school for trying to “take credit” for a student-led campaign on behalf of an illegal immigrant student detained by ICE.
Luis Mora, an illegal immigrant enrolled as a student at UC Berkeley, was detained at the U.S.-Mexico border on December 30. However, it was not until January 8 that Chancellor Carol Christ issued an official statement on the matter, assuring concerned students that “campus leadership is taking all appropriate actions to support the student’s interests so that he may continue his studies and his life as a valued member of [the] community.”
The statement was not well received by the student group Rising Immigrant Scholars through Education (RISE), which claimed in a response published in The Daily Californian that “Christ has not sent any message directly to any of the students who have mobilized in support of Mora, nor has she explained anything regarding privacy laws,” going so far as to say that “her silence has been absolute.”
Christ’s statement did specifically acknowledge the efforts undertaken by RISE, assuring the group that she and the university “recognize the urgency of this moment,” but RISE scoffed at the assertion.
“Christ said she recognizes the sense of urgency in this matter; however, she refused to comment on Mora’s detention for more than a week,” the group retorted, adding that its members “refuse to let government relations staff or any UC Berkeley administration official take credit for the work that was done by the undocumented community.”
Proclaiming that “it was our tweets, Facebook posts, emails, and fierce advocacy that forced Christ to respond,” RISE even accused the chancellor of not knowing Mora’s name, based on her failure to include it in her statement.
“To Christ, his name is Luis Mora, and it is his community who showed up first to fight for him and it is his community who will bring him back,” the group wrote. “If you really want to do something, actually listen to what we have to say.”
RISE then references a meeting the group had with Christ last October, saying she professed a desire to “listen” to its concerns at the time, but has since continued to “neglect our existence in [sic] this campus.”
Dismissing her promises to use “campus influence and resources” to support Mora, RISE presents a list of specific steps that it wants Christ to take, including donating school money to both Mora’s bond fund and the Undocumented Student Program (USP), as well as establishing permanent space on campus for all USP staff members.
In addition, the group wants Christ not only to write a letter of support herself, but also to “make UC President Janet Napolitano, along with your administrative team, write one as well.”
Most strikingly, RISE also demands that Christ ensure that all illegal immigrant students—“especially” those who, like Mora, lack DACA status—“have access to a job and other basic needs.”
“To our community members, remember that we are here for you,” the op-ed concludes. “RISE has been going up in arms for every community member that has approached us. We will fight for you every step of the way.”
Luis Mora has since been granted a minimum bond of $1,500 and was reportedly set to be released Wednesday night.
Campus Reform reached out to both RISE and Chancellor Christ for comment but did not receive response in time for publication.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @celinedryan