Campus Reform | Berkeley students give ICE the cold shoulder

Berkeley students give ICE the cold shoulder

U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement was scheduled to participate in UC Berkeley’s annual Career Fair.

ICE was disinvited from the career fair after students complained that they do not "welcoming, supportive, and inclusive space" for illegal immigrants.

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Employees from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement were slated to participate in the University of California-Berkeley’s annual Career Fair held virtually on March 11, until being informed they were no longer invited after students protested their invitation.

A Change.org petition titled “Urge the UC Berkeley Career Center to uninvite ICE from the Career Fair” had reached around 1,800 signatures as of March 10.

Organizers of the petition said, “Inviting ICE to a campus career fair does not, by any means, create a ‘welcoming, supportive, and inclusive space’ for our undocumented community. Please join us in reminding UC Berkeley of its commitment.”

The American Civil Liberties Union chapter at CAL, which also petitioned UC-Berkeley to disinvite ICE from the event, posted on its Instagram page stating, “It is not acceptable for UC-Berkeley to claim it protects its undocumented student population while recruiting students to begin careers with ICE.”

The ACLU chapter also published a script that students and community members could use to call the career center to petition that ICE get disinvited from the event.

UC-Berkeley spokesperson Janet Gilmore referred Campus Reform to a March 10 announcement from the Career Center, stating, “ICE has informed the campus they will no longer be attending the Career Center’s March 11, 2021 virtual career fair.”

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“We want to assure you that the Career Center fully supports UC Berkeley's undocumented student community, and we recognize how the potential involvement of ICE could cause alarm or misunderstanding,” the statement read in part.

Tom Devlin, Executive Director of the Career Center, said ICE has “participated in career fairs in the past, but there is no official partnership with ICE; our career fairs are open to organizations and companies who want to recruit Berkeley students. Participation in career fairs should not be construed as an endorsement.”

The statement also emphasized that “students have the ability to make their own judgments about which organizations or companies they want to join, and we support their right to choose. Berkeley students can also make meaningful impacts on organizations and companies, shaping the future for generations to come.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @ashleyecarnahan