University of California May Allow Undocumented Students to Work on Campus

United States North America Higher Education News International Studies by Erudera News May 21, 2023

University of California Berkeley gate

The University of California’s Board of Regents has voted in favor of a plan to potentially allow students without legal immigration status to work across the campus, despite receiving criticism that such a move is not legal because it violates federal law.

The move to consider the employment of illegal immigrants was prompted by calls from activists and students who themselves lack valid immigration documents, reports.

After a closed-door discussion, the board appointed a working group that will determine the following steps by the end of November this year. They have agreed on a measure to offer equitable employment opportunities for all students at the university.

The working group will determine whether, how and when to implement next steps,” University of California President Michael V. Drake, M.D., and Board of Regents Chair Richard Leib said in a joint statement issued on Thursday, May 18.

According to school officials, the university wants to make sure that all students, whether immigrants or not, have access to a world-class UC education and the same working opportunities.

“The University is committed to ensuring that all students, regardless of their immigration status, can pursue and attain a world-class UC education. This should include providing enriching student employment opportunities to all students,” the statement reads.

In October last year, the New York Times reported on a letter written by undocumented student leaders stating that the university system should start employing illegal immigrant students at all ten campuses within the university system for various roles, including teaching assistants or paid interns.

“At the University of California, students who cannot access DACA are being systematically denied opportunities afforded to their classmates, including employment opportunities that would enhance the research, education and public service mission of the university,” the letter said.

Such a proposal seemed to contradict the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act; however, the newspaper said that a legal analysis developed at UCLA claimed that the law does not apply to states.

The University of California system has a history of more than 150 years. It started operating in 1869 with only ten faculty members and 40 students. Today, the school enrolls more than 280,000 students and has 227,000 faculty and staff.

The University of California system consists of ten campuses, which are:

  1. UC Berkeley
  2. UC Davis
  3. UC Irvine
  4. (UC Los Angeles, UCLA)
  5. (UC Merced)
  6. (UC Riverside)
  7. (UC San Diego or UCSD)
  8. (UC San Francisco or UCSF)
  9. (UC Santa Barbara or UCSB)
  10. (UC Santa Cruz or UCSC)

Photo: Jeremy Huang | Unsplash

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