September 16, 2019 | 62° F

ICE withdraws invitation from Rutgers-Newark career fair


In a statement, University President Robert L. Barchi reassured members of the community that despite not labeling itself as a sanctuary campus, Rutgers will continue to provide a safe haven for its students. 

Following 139 supporters on a petition, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) withdrew its invitation yesterday from the Rutgers—Newark Government and Public Service Career Fair happening today.

The petition was started by RU Dreamers and was presented to the Rutgers—Newark Career Development Center, the location of the career fair, according to the petition. 

Yesterday, the petition was updated to say “Victory,” and a message from RU Dreamers that said ICE had formally withdrawn its invitation.

“We would like to announce that ICE has formally withdrawn their invitation to attend the Government and Public Service Career Fair at Rutgers University—Newark. (sic) Thank you to everyone who signed!!” according to the comment on the petition.

RU Dreamers is a student organization whose purpose is to empower undocumented students on the Rutgers—Newark campus as well as those in the greater Newark area with the understanding that empowerment stems from access to higher education, according to the group’s constitution.

In an interview with The Daily Targum, Carlos Macazana, a Rutgers—Newark School of Arts and Sciences junior and director of Media and Communications of RU Dreamers, said that ICE being at the career fair could raise concern among students.

"ICE's presence will most definitely disturb the Government and Public Service Career Fair by discouraging students who are concerned with their immigration status ... It will also surely distress students who have personal experiences regarding ICE," he said.  

A possible reason why this could have been distressing to students concerned involves a nationwide surge in ICE arrests made during fiscal year 2017, according to NJ Advance Media.

A total of 143,470 ICE arrests happened nationwide in 2017, a 30-percent rise, according to the report.

New Jersey also saw a particularly large jump in arrests — in ICE’s Newark region which encompasses all of the state, there were 3,189 — a 42-percent increase from the year prior, according to the report.

NJ Advance Media reported that ICE increased its nationwide arrests following an executive order signed by President Donald J. Trump in one of his early acts as president. A decreased pace in arrests began in late January 2017. 

"Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 25 that expanded ICE’s enforcement focus to most immigrants in the U.S. without authorization, regardless of whether they have a criminal record," according to Pew Research Center.

Despite the rise in 2017, the Pew Research Center reported that ICE made approximately twice as many arrests in 2009 when former President Barack Obama came into office, a number that would decline over the following years.

In 2016, Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi released a statement that said "Rutgers is and will always be a sanctuary."

"... in today’s political environment, terms such as 'sanctuary campus' have no legal meaning and are encumbered by vague and shifting definitions and political connections," Barchi said in the statement. "At Rutgers, we must be focused on policy and principles, not labels. But make no mistake: by providing a safe haven for our students, regardless of nationality or background, Rutgers is and will always be a sanctuary that supports and enables their education, intellectual growth and personal well-being."

Ryan Stiesi

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