UNT should not invite ICE to campus — especially without warning

UNT should not invite ICE to campus — especially without warning

UNT should not invite ICE to campus — especially without warning
March 06
23:43 2019

This week, UNT students and faculty members in the ICE Out Coalition met with UNT Provost Jennifer Cowley to present their formal opposition to the presence of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection on campus.

ICE and CBP were asked to participate in the university’s Criminal Justice Career Day on Monday and CBP appeared in UNT’s International Career Fair on Feb. 7. Students were not specifically notified of the agencies’ presence prior to either of the career events — in fact, the Denton Record-Chronicle reported that one student’s alleged shock and anxiety upon seeing immigration officers at the fair in February is what prompted the petition in the first place.

ICE has received harsh criticism in recent years for excessive use of force, racial profiling and repeated human rights violations. NBC News reported that 22 immigrants died inside immigration centers in the last two years alone — and half of them were not even 45 years old. Many advocate for the abolition of the group in favor of less aggressive and intrusive immigration policies.

Official immigration enforcement groups have shown up at other colleges across the nation and have active contracts with several of them, according to Inside Higher Ed. In July, UC Berkeley even went so far as to create a website with resources for undocumented students in case of an immigration raid on campus. The website plainly states that university officials nor students have the authority to “prohibit federal immigration enforcement officers from coming on campus or entering health facilities to enforce federal law.”

UNT’s Student Government Association released a statement regarding the concern around immigration enforcement officers on campus. The statement reaffirms the organization’s support of undocumented and DACA students, but does not make any promises concerning future ICE occupation. It can be inferred that ICE could very well return to our campus in the future.

UNT didn’t have to ask ICE or CBP to participate in the career fair at all — students interested in law enforcement could have easily spoken with the Denton police officers also present at the fair. So what was the reasoning behind inviting officers that deal exclusively with immigration and customs to our campus to peddle their profession?

UNT spokeswoman Leigh Anne Gullet issued a statement on behalf of the university emphasizing the school’s obligation to “provide a wide range of career opportunities from which they can choose,” according to a previously published article in the North Texas Daily.

This statement misrepresents ICE and disregards the message sent to noncitizen students by inviting these groups to our campus. A wide array of career resources is not what’s causing concern. What’s causing concern is the university’s apparent companionship with overzealous, historically violent immigration agencies that have ordered the deportation of nearly 290,000 people in the 2018 fiscal year, according to CBS News.

The agencies’ blasé assertions that their purpose on campus was not to detain or deport does little to assuage the horror noncitizen students feel when they unexpectedly bump into an ICE officer on their casual stroll from econ to psychology.

What happened to UNT’s supposed support of immigrants and our commitment to inclusivity?

Students in college working to become future professionals should be focused on learning, studying and staying healthy. University officials should always be looking out for students and helping them achieve their goals. UNT taking an arguably dismissive approach to the concerns of its students and faculty is alarming and tone-deaf at best.

The reality is undocumented students can never put their education first or feel safe as long as UNT continues its partnership with ICE.

Featured Illustration: Jordan Collard

About Author

North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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