DIstrict Takes Stand for Undocumented Students
The Board of Trustees unanimously approved resolutions Dec. 12 affirming Foothill-De Anza Community College District’s support for undocumented students and calling for extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program “thereby allowing these students to better their lives and their communities.”
Resolution 2016-44 in Support of Undocumented Students and Affirming the Privacy of Student Records asserts that the district will not cooperate in efforts to create a registry of targeted groups and will hold fast to its policy on the privacy of student records.
Resolution 2016-43 in Support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program reiterates the message contained in a recent letter signed by the chief executives of the California Community Colleges, California State University and the University of California urging President-elect Donald Trump to continue the DACA.
What is DACA?
“DACA is rooted in the fundamental premise that no one should be punished for the actions of others,’’ the resolution states. “DACA students do not represent a public safety threat but represent some of the finest young individuals on whom our country’s future depends.”
“This is a marvelous resolution,” said board President Laura Casas. “It speaks to students, faculty, staff and the community about how important this social justice issue is.” Casas said she has received numerous emails, not just from undocumented students, but also from immigrant students and U.S. students who are terrified about what may happen.
Established through executive actions by President Barack Obama, DACA makes it possible for undocumented young people who came to the United States as children to be temporarily in the country legally and work here legally. It defers removal of individuals who have applied for and been granted deferred action on case-by-case basis, but doesn’t confer legal status.
During his campaign, President-elect Trump said he would rescind President Obama’s executive actions establishing the DACA program.
The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office has advised the state’s 72 community college districts that it will not cooperate with any federal effort to create a registry of individuals based on any protected characteristics such as religion, national origin, race, or sexual orientation, and has suggested that all community college districts to do the same.
The resolution on the privacy of student records reflects protocols that already are in place. Under existing board policy, the Foothill-De Anza Community College District doesn’t release any personally identifiable student information, including any data related to immigration status, unless authorized by the student or required by law.
The resolution in support of undocumented students goes further, stating that the district “will not detain, question, or arrest any individual solely on the basis of undocumented immigration status, suspected or confirmed, except as required by judicial warrant, subpoena, or court order.”
Further, it says, “The district shall not cooperate with any federal or state effort to create a registry of individuals based on any legally protected characteristics, such as religion, national origin, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity. No confidential student records will be released without a judicial warrant, subpoena or court order, unless authorized by the student or required by law.”
"What we will and will not do"
During the campaign, President-elect Trump proposed creating a registry for Muslims. District Chancellor Judy Miner said, “It’s important for us to say what we will and will not do. If a registry is established, we want our community to know that we will follow our systemwide directive for non-compliance.” During the campaign, President-elect Trump proposed creating a registry for Muslims.
Foothill College student Trustee Courtney Cooper, president of the statewide Student Senate for California Community Colleges, said it is comforting to see how quickly the Board of Trustees responded. When districts pass such resolutions, she said, it allows her to tell fellow students, “You have districts that have your back, there is no reason to leave.”
De Anza College student Trustee Elias Kamal called the resolutions a good start and said he is looking forward to the continuing follow-through actions by faculty, staff and administrators in support of undocumented students.
Foothill and De Anza colleges have established web pages with resources for undocumented students and will continue to host programs and activities that respond to their needs and concerns.
Posted Dec. 14, 2016