Community college board pledges support for immigrant students

Students studying together in a library.

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Community College District Board of Trustees unanimously pledged its support of students regardless of their immigration status or religious beliefs, joining many other colleges and universities around the country that have taken similar stances.

The resolution reaffirming support of its students was passed at the board meeting Thursday.

The trustees urged President Donald Trump to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to work and study in the country without fear of being deported.

Former President Barack Obama introduced the policy in 2012.

“The board resolution reflects the values of the district’s faculty, administrators, staff, and student leaders,” Chancellor Constance M. Carroll said. “The campus presidents and I have sent a message to students, sharing the board resolution and assuring them that we will do everything in our power to support their educational opportunities despite the challenges that may be on the horizon.”

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The resolution affirmed the district’s support for its diverse student population, including those who may lack legal authorization to be in the United States. It also committed to not cooperating with any federal effort aimed at creating a registry of individuals based religion, national origin, race or sexual orientation.

The resolution also prevents immigration officials from being on campus absent legal authority and pledges to avoid acting on behalf of federal agencies enforcing immigration laws.

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“Our goal in passing this resolution is simple and straightforward,” Board President Maria Nieto Senour said. “We value each and every one of our students, so our priority is to provide high-quality educational opportunities for all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, heritage, national origin, religion, immigration status, gender identity or medical condition.”

The resolution comes after California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley, University of California President Janet Napolitano and California State University Chancellor Timothy White formally requested that the new administration preserve the DACA program. It also follows and supports the position of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors.