University of California Becomes a Sanctuary System

I’m confident that by now, due to all the proliferated news stories, the American populace is well aware of the Trump administration’s removal of the DACA program. This announcement brought heavy criticism as well as praise from both political parties, and possibly signaled a restoration of our immigration system and laws, which were dilapidated under the Obama administration. Although the various news outlets have reduced the number of stories about DACA, there are important and crucial happenings occurring on the local and state level that need to be understood and critically examined.

One of the most astonishing actions that I recently heard of was the lawsuit that the University of California administration is waging against the Trump administration. The UC Office of the President declared that the removal of the DACA program is an unconstitutional action towards the multiple universities that compose the UC system and the students that attend these universities. This accusation seems incredibly unfounded and untamed. The federal government is charged with the duty of regulating immigration and controlling who enters our country and who doesn’t. The statement given by the UC Office is contrary to what the Constitution actually states. It is simply a feeble and underhanded ploy used by the UC Office to bolster their credibility and draw sympathy for their, dare I say, unconstitutional actions. Of course this argument has the potential to go back and forth, but to remedy this problem, it is imperative to understand that Barack Obama created DACA through a series of executive orders. He defied the Constitution, our separation of powers, and American democracy, simply because of his monarchical tendencies and displeasure with Congress for their inability to conform to his outlandish standards.

However, the ludicrousness doesn’t stop at an untruthful and misleading statement. The UC Office, in the link above, provides a list of resources and services that it will continue providing undocumented students. These benefits are as follows:

“Continuing to allow California residents who are Dreamers to pay in-state tuition, maintaining the DREAM loan program for financial aid, offering legal services to our undocumented students, supporting campus-based student service centers, and directing campus police not to contact, detain, question, or arrest individuals based on suspected undocumented status, or to enter agreements to undertake joint efforts to make arrests for federal immigration law violations.”

There are two ardent objections I have to this ridiculous statement. Firstly, it is unfathomable to think that individuals who are in this country illegally can qualify for in-state tuition and financial aid. The UC system, as a public institution, is funded, partially, through tax payer dollars. The various universities that create this system then allocate this money wherever they see fit, with some funds being appropriated to the financial aid sector. Financial aid is meant to be a service that helps needy American citizens who want to receive an exceptional education in order to improve their lives. This is a fantastic display of benevolence. However, when you start allowing illegal immigrants access to aid, you are systematically denying an American citizen’s access to the same aid, since the UC system does not have an unlimited stream of funds to allocate towards financial aid. Furthermore, our tax dollars should not go towards education for someone who is here illegally, regardless of the method that brought them to this country. Tax dollars are collected by our federal government to serve the needs of the American people and contribute to our national security and defense. Label me callous, a bigot, a racist, or whatever derogatory term you want, but I staunchly believe that money that is taken from hardworking Americans should be used to serve America’s interests and the interests of the citizenry.

My second objection is in regards to the last “service” which deals with the handicapping of campus police forces by not allowing them to question or detain an individual based upon immigration status. Federal law dictates that any individual who enters this country by any means other than the established, legal means, is an illegal immigrant. Our police forces across the nation are charged with the duty to enforce the law and protect our communities. This obstruction by the UC system disenfranchises campus police officers and restricts them from performing their regular duties. In essence, if the police officers on a particular campus have intelligence that there is an illegal immigrant who they know the identity of, but are unable to perform their duties, then they are seemingly accomplices to the crime. This command by the UC Office is incredibly baffling, and I think it proves that the UC administration is becoming a sanctuary system by sheltering and protecting individuals who are not meant to be in our country.

As a student at the University of California, Irvine, I am appalled at the actions of the UC system. In addition to the UC Office’s remarks, the Chancellor of UCI also shed his opinion on the situation. He reaffirmed his support for the services mentioned in the UC Office’s statement, and also asserted that “all members of the Anteater family… have a right to engage in their activities at UCI without fear or intimidation.” The irony in this statement is overwhelming. The Chancellor uses words such as “fear” and “intimidation” to demonize law enforcement and the integrity of our immigration laws. If you are in this country illegally, then you should be fearful. You broke a federal law, and quite possibly are extracting a reasonable amount of benefits, courtesy of the hard-working American tax payer. Even more irony is discernible here. Republicans on college campuses are fearful to even speak their minds, let alone hold events to advance the conservative agenda. Yet there is no letter sent out by the Chancellor addressing this issue. The Chancellor of UCI does not seem to have his priorities well orientated, and for someone who is purported to be an expert in the American Constitution, one would assume that he would acknowledge that DACA is unconstitutional, hurting American citizens, and tarnishing our immigration system’s integrity.

All in all, I was astounded and shocked when I heard that the UC system is going to defy federal law and protect illegal immigrants. Universities, once established, are meant to provide services and education to a nation’s citizenry, since they will be the ones working and running the respective country in the future to come. Providing illegal immigrants with a first-rate education, financially supported by hard-working American tax payers, does a great disservice to the American people. Each illegal immigrant that is admitted and supported by a university takes the place and diminishes the opportunity of one American student. Furthermore, by allowing illegal immigrants to remain in this lucrative position unpunished, it incentivizes more to come into our country and take advantage of our misguided benevolence. The Trump administration made the right decision, constitutionally and morally, in rescinding the DACA program. I remember when President Trump threatened to withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities, and I think it might be time for him to propose the same ultimatum to the UC sanctuary system.

Follow the author on Twitter and Facebook: @jonathanellett


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