Labor leaders demand UC end contracts with ICE-collaborating businesses

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UC labor leaders are demanding that the UC system end contracts with businesses that work with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, or ICE, in response to President Donald Trump’s policy of separating immigrant families at the border.

The UC paid more than $200 million during 2011-15 through contracts with 25 businesses — including AT&T, Maxim Healthcare Services, Time Warner Cable and General Dynamics Information Technology, or GDIT — that also provide services for ICE, according to a document from American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, or AFSCME Local 3299, the UC’s largest employee union.

“To add insult to injury, not only are they outsourcing our jobs, they’re outsourcing our jobs to the people who are behind Trump’s zero tolerance policy,” said AFSCME Local 3299 spokesperson John de los Angeles. “We want UC to stand up for the communities that they’re exploiting.”

In a July letter to UC President Janet Napolitano, AFSCME Local 3299 called for the UC to withdraw its contract with GDIT, which administers the Analytical Writing Placement Examination for the UC and contracts with the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement.

The letter claimed that the UC’s contracts with GDIT and other contractors providing services to ICE are not consistent with Napolitano’s comments in an interview with Politico, in which she said Trump’s policy concerning asylum-seekers is a “misallocation” of resources.

In response to concerns raised by labor leaders, Napolitano said in a June letter that GDIT has said it plays no role in the construction or operation of ICE detention centers or the family separation policy and that GDIT leadership has assured her that it provides services to support unaccompanied children.

“I have spoken publicly against the zero-tolerance policy separating immigrant children from their parents, which I find to be cruel and morally unjustified,” Napolitano said in the letter. “I will continue to stand up for our Dreamers and continue my advocacy for immigration reform that reflects the true values of the University of California and the State of California.”

Napolitano also said in the letter that few organizations offer the test-taking services GDIT provides for about 16,000 students in California and that ending the contract would be “detrimental and disruptive” to students.

AFSCME Local 3299 demands that the UC withdraw from these contracts and also provide sanctuaries for undocumented students, according to de los Angeles.

“If Napolitano is sincere about pioneering a better future for Californians and fighting the humanitarian crisis that’s exploding on our southern border, she should use the best tool at her disposal: UC’s purchasing power,” said AFSCME Local 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger in a press release.

Contact Mani Sandhu at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ManiSandhu24.