Student petition disinvites members of ICE from Rutgers—Newark career fair

<p>Last May, students and members of the Rutgers—Newark community showed their support for Carimer Andujar, a Rutgers—Newark student, scheduled to meet with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) officers.</p>

Last May, students and members of the Rutgers—Newark community showed their support for Carimer Andujar, a Rutgers—Newark student, scheduled to meet with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) officers.

RU Dreamers has started a petition to disinvite the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) from the Government and Public Service Career Fair at Rutgers—Newark, and said that it challenges the values of the Rutgers community. 

"The increasingly hostile political and social environment regarding immigration has cultivated fear and anxiety amongst members of our society. The invitation to ICE challenges the proactive and inclusive stance Rutgers--Newark has taken in fostering safety, support and diversity in our community," according to a statement on the petition website.

The petition states that the University’s invitation gives the immigration agency a platform on school premises and counteracts initiatives to create a supportive personal and professional environment for all students, regardless of where they were born. 

It said that moving forward with the decision to host ICE would deter undocumented students from attending the fair, which would alienate them and hinder their academic and career opportunities.

RU Dreamers has received 75 signatures over the course of two days. 

“At the upcoming public interest career fair, a legal research office of U.S. ICE will share employment information, as will 30 other organizations representing a range of perspectives and interests including local, state and national child and family advocacy nonprofits, public policy groups and agencies from all levels of government,” said Peter Englot, senior vice chancellor for Public Affairs. 

Rutgers—Newark students of diverse backgrounds are encouraged to participate, in the tradition of students seeking and earning internships and other career-related opportunities through these fairs, he said.

The Rutgers—Newark Career Development Center (CDC) was warned not to invite the agency, but after the previous director resigned, the staff did not follow protocol, said Esder Chong, a Rutgers—Newark Business School sophomore and a DACA recipient. 

She said there are precautions being taken the day of the fair. ICE vehicles cannot be parked on campus grounds, the representatives cannot wear ICE uniforms and they will be employees from the enforcement's research unit, as opposed to being enforcement agents.  

"Still, the fact that ICE was invited is unacceptable," Chong said. 

Carlos Macazana, a Rutgers—Newark School of Arts and Sciences junior and director of Media and Communications of RU Dreamers, said that ICE's presence will raise stress and concern among students that believe that Rutgers is supportive of them. 

"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 in an interview. 

Last May, Rutgers—Newark gained national attention when an undocumented student, Carimer Andujar, a Rutgers—Newark School of Engineering junior, faced deportation. She was met with applause from hundreds of supporters when she left a meeting with ICE officers at a federal building in Newark, according to TAPinto

“I do intend to stay here,” Andujar said. “I do intend to finish my education, and I do intend to chase after my dreams.”

ICE’s presence at the fair will come less than a week after the U.S. Senate failed to pass an immigration bill that provides undocumented students a pathway to citizenship. Hope for a decision that protects more than 500 undocumented students at Rutgers and thousands across the country is in the hands of the Senate until March 5, the expiration of former President Barack Obama’s immigration plan. 

Rutgers—Newark has been a public advocate for its undocumented students. 

“Rutgers University—Newark stands in solidarity with members of our community and beyond who have applied for DACA protection,” according to the University’s website.

In 2016, a month after President Donald J. Trump was inaugurated, University President Robert L. Barchi released a statement claiming Rutgers as a sanctuary campus, a goal for many students. 

Part of that definition means not sharing undocumented student records with the police without a warrant and supporting them with resources, like the Rutgers Law School's Immigration Rights Clinic, to assist students with questions regarding their legal status. 

“ ... 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," Barchi said.

While Barchi has been a public advocate for RU Dreamers, Chong said that it is the responsibility of the CDC to be aware of issues that impact all of the student body. 

"This mistake can cause serious damage to undocumented students. While understanding that this was a serious mistake on CDC's part, we do not feel safe with ICE being on our campus," she said. 

Editor's Note: Information has been updated to better reflect the views of RU Dreamers.

Update: Rutgers—Newark has disinvited ICE from the Government and Public Service Career Fair.

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