UC Student Association discusses deportation raids, Brown’s budget proposal

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The UC Student Association discussed Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2016-17 state budget proposal and passed a resolution denouncing government raids on undocumented communities at its January meeting at UC San Diego.

This weekend marked the first time the board of the UCSA met since the Students of Color Conference hosted at UC Berkeley last November.

After presentations from UCSA executive officers and reflection on November’s conference, a board subcommittee discussed Brown’s recently released budget proposal. Upon reconvening Sunday, 17 members of the board voted to pass the resolution condemning U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for its recent uptick in raids, with one member abstaining.

“ICE represents a terrifying and violent threat for undocumented students and families,” said Mohsin Mirza, chair of the UCSA Board’s undergraduate committee. “These raids are morally reprehensible.”

According to the Washington Post, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has recently begun preparations to carry out a series of raids targeting hundreds of families who have recently arrived in the United States from central America.

The Obama administration has overseen the deportation of more than two million individuals. UCSA Board chair Guillermo Rogel noted that many deportations occurred under the supervision of current UC President Janet Napolitano in her former role as the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Preparations for such raids come as the ICE, the agency responsible for targeting and detaining undocumented individuals, recruits students from UC campuses, according to Rogel.

“The University of California should not stand for these kinds of raids on undocumented communities,” Rogel said. “The daily lives of undocumented students are being affected as these raids continue. It’s just getting worse and worse.”

Language in the resolution suggests that these raids create “a threatening and unsafe environment in California and across the nation.” In response, the UCSA demands that the university administration refuse to collaborate with immigration officials, prohibit the ICE from recruiting or participating in public activities on UC campuses, and continue to allocate funding toward initiatives for undocumented students while engaging with undocumented students’ task forces on each campus.

Sam Alavi, vice chair of the UCSA Board’s undergraduate committee, said the stories and needs of undocumented students often get ignored by student leaders and the university.

Alavi’s sentiments echo the findings of a 2015 study of the undocumented student experiences at UC Berkeley. Nearly three-fourths of the undocumented students surveyed for the study reported skipping or reducing the size of their meals, and about one-fifth of those same students added that they had experienced a period of homelessness while enrolled at UC Berkeley.

At the meeting, Alavi and her colleagues also highlighted the importance of addressing issues of food and housing insecurity for the university student body at large. UCSA President Kevin Sabo criticized Brown’s 2016-17 budget proposal for failing to address such issues.

“Year after year, both the State and the UC fail to address one key issue that leaves the lives of thousands of students balanced on the edge of crisis: food and housing security,” Sabo said in a press release. “It is a problem neither the State nor University created, but is one they must partner to solve.”

The UC Office of the President could not be immediately reached for comment.

The UCSA Board will reconvene Feb. 6-7 at UC Santa Barbara, where they plan to continue discussing topics including sexual violence prevention, mental health awareness and joint lobbying efforts with the UC Office of the President and UC Board of Regents.

Ishaan Srivastava is the lead academics and administration reporter. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @ishaansriv.