The University of California (UC) system is working towards providing jobs to illegal immigrants despite a federal law banning the practice.
In a Thursday statement by UC President Michael Drake and Board of Regents Chair Richard Leib, the university system announced the appointment of a working group that will consider relevant issues to providing employment opportunities to all students regardless of immigration status. By November, the group is expected to have developed an implementation plan and legal strategy which will include the next steps.
“The University is committed to ensuring that all students, regardless of their immigration status, can pursue and attain a world-class UC education,” reads the statement. “This should include providing enriching student employment opportunities to all students.“
According to The Hill, “The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 established civil and criminal penalties for employers who knowingly hire undocumented immigrants and those not authorized to work in the United States. “
Yet, the LA Times reports that UCLA legal scholars have a theory that the law does not specifically apply to states and state entities such as UC.
According to Regent John Perez, the UC will need time to figure out how to implement the plan, telling the Times “this is too important to get wrong.”
But the university could face legal action over its plan and has been considering any potential public backlash it would receive and the legal risk for faculty and staff who hire the students.
Rep. Darrel Issa (R-Calif.) wrote a letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) earlier this week to warn against the plan, arguing that the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that federal immigration law tops state or local laws. He said the plan could cause UC to lose federal funding and hurt its students. -The Hill
There are around 44,000 students not covered by DACA who attend college in California, of which around 4,000 attend UC, according to the Times.