UPDATE: Two organizations pen responses to presence of Customs agents on campus
The Latinx Social Work Coalition has sent a letter and SCOPE, Student Community of Progressive Empowerment — a student-led organization aiming to protect undocumented and ”DACAmented” students at the University — has released a statement in regards to the presence of Customs and Border Protection agents at Tuesday’s Spring Career Expo.
In the letter from the Latinx Social Work Coalition — addressed to University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel, Vice President E. Royster Harper and Vice Provost Rob Sellers — the coalition asserted the presence of CBP agents and official vehicles insights fear in the Latino community and disrupts the learning environment. It addressed two primary issues with regard to the incident, specifically campus climate and student safety and mental health, stating, “the U-M fails to recognize the negative impact these actions have on students’ lives.”
Though the letter acknowledges previous public statements made by the University supporting the immigrant, refugee and undocumented populations, like a statement issued on Jan. 28 stating Schlissel’s refusal to disclose the immigration status of University students, it states allowing CBP to be present at University events is a direct opposition to past statements.
“We believe that the presence of CBP deeply contradicts much of pro-immigrant stance UM administration has made in the previous months,” the letter reads. “Indeed, it is difficult to trust that the University stands with students and faculty who were banned from entering the US by Trump's Executive Order when the Administration allows for the recruitment of agents who would enforce the ban itself.”
The letter also referred to current political climate when requesting action from the University.
“We recognize that U-M is an educational institution that often provides a forum for differing perspectives on timely issues,” the letter later reads. “However, the University also had a responsibility to ensure the safety of its students - measures that were not apparent in this instance.”
SCOPE's statement cited similar concerns.
"The presence of CBP on campus is a direct contradiction to the University's policy to support and admit students regardless of their immigration status," the statement reads. "We are deeply concerned with the presence of CBP, there has been a rise in deportations and DACAmented individuals being arrested/detained."
The Latinx Social Work Coalition letter calls for an opportunity to meet with the administration to discuss the organization’s concerns, and was also signed by the Latinx Alliance for Community Action, Support and Advocacy. Additional members of the administration were CCed as well.
"We see this moment, as a learning opportunity, that leads to more dialogue between the administration and undocumented students," the SCOPE statement also read. "As well as transparency by all departments in the future. We are members of your community, your classmates, friends, and peers."
In a statement Public Affairs spokesmen Rick Fitzgerald said that Vice President of Student Life Royster Harper will be responding to the letter as the Career Center is housed with Student Life.
"We certainly apologize for any fear or confusion caused by the presence of U.S. Customs and Border Protection representatives on campus Tuesday," the statement read.
According to Fitzgerald CBP has participated in the career expo for several years.
"The university is not wavering one bit on its long-standing positions on non-discrimination, privacy, and public safety," the statement read.
This is a developing story. Check back at michigandaily.com for updates.