Education

UC president moves quickly to reassure undocumented students after Trump’s election

UC President Janet Napolitano speaks to the editorial board of The Sacramento Bee in Sacramento on Wednesday, March 9, 2016.
UC President Janet Napolitano speaks to the editorial board of The Sacramento Bee in Sacramento on Wednesday, March 9, 2016. rbenton@sacbee.com

University of California President Janet Napolitano will soon meet with undocumented students to address their concerns about Tuesday’s presidential election of Republican Donald Trump, who pledged to rescind an executive action protecting them from deportation.

Napolitano herself carried out that protection in 2012 as President Barack Obama’s homeland security director.

Napolitano on Wednesday issued an unusual post-election statement, signed by her and 10 UC campus leaders, stating that they “remain absolutely committed to supporting all members of our community and adhering to UC’s Principles Against Intolerance.”

“In light of yesterday’s election results, we know there is understandable consternation and uncertainty among members of the University of California community,” the letter read. “The University of California is proud of being a diverse and welcoming place for students, faculty and staff with a wide range of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives.”

The statement did not say what specifically about Trump it was intended to address, but UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein explained later that UC leaders wanted to assure undocumented students in particular who “are anxious about their future and that of their families.”

“What prompted it was the immediate realization that a Trump presidency likely represents change that will directly affect our community,” Klein said. “We felt it important to reaffirm our values.”

In 2012, President Barack Obama’s administration announced that it would offer protections for undocumented students who pose no national security threat and have not committed serious crimes. As director of the Department of Homeland Security at the time, Napolitano carried out Obama’s executive action by halting the deportation of students who came to the U.S. with their families as migrants years earlier.

A year later, Napolitano left her cabinet post to become UC president.

As a candidate, Trump pledged to rescind Obama’s DACA program as part of his call for stricter enforcement of U.S. immigration laws.

“Pres. Napolitano will meet soon with UC undocumented students to discuss concerns about the election outcome,” Klein said. “If, for example, DACA is revised, the University will work to mitigate the impacts on UC students.”

Diana Lambert: 916-321-1090, @dianalambert

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