Dems propose law making campuses 'safe spaces' for illegals
- A California bill that would deem public campuses “safe spaces” from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) cleared the State Assembly’s Judiciary Committee Tuesday.
- AB-21 would require faculty members throughout the state notify administrators if they even suspect that ICE may come to campus, and to warn any students that ICE agents might wish to question.
- It would also require schools to provide free resources and legal references to illegal immigrant students, and to guarantee DACA benefits even if the order is rescinded.
A California bill that would deem public campuses “safe spaces” from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) cleared the State Assembly’s Judiciary Committee Tuesday.
AB-21 was introduced in March by Democratic Assemblyman Ash Kalra, a member of the Judiciary Committee that voted 8-3 to advance the bill to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
If passed into law, the bill would “ensure that public institutions of higher education are safe spaces free of immigration enforcement activities with access to services and support for all students, faculty, and staff regardless of their immigration status.”
Specifically, the legislation mandates that faculty members of “California’s colleges and universities” must “immediately notify the campus chancellor or president if he or she suspects, or becomes aware that, [ICE], or other public or law enforcement entities working in coordination with federal ICE, are expected to enter, will enter, or have entered, the campus.”
In such a scenario, the bill would also require faculty and staff to “immediately notify any and all students who may or could be subject to an immigration enforcement order or inquiry in a discreet and confidential manner that ICE is suspected to have entered, may enter, or has entered the campus.”
Meanwhile, the legislation mandates that public institutions “assign a staff person, or multiple staff persons” to “serve as a point of contact” for any student, faculty, or staff member subjected to an immigration order, while also maintaining a “contact list of known attorneys” who “provide pro bono legal immigration representation, and provide it free of charge to any and all students who request it.”
In the event that the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program were to be cancelled at any point, the legislation would force universities to ensure that “students to whom the DACA policy was applicable may continue to receive financial aid, fellowship stipends, exemption from nonresident tuition fees, funding for research or other educational projects, or other benefits they have been awarded or received.”
The bill, set to head to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, has the full support of the California Faculty Association (CFA), the union representing all faculty members within the California State University System.
“As faculty committed to our students’ success, we’re determined not to let Trump rip their dreams away,” CFA President Jennifer Eagan exclaimed at an April 3 rally in support of the bill. “Governor Brown said Trump had better not mess with California; well the faculty of CSU are saying ‘you better not mess with our students, because we are going to get in your way.’”
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