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Supporting Our Community in the Wake of U.S. Immigration Action

July 14, 2019

Dear Campus Community,
 
Well publicized immigration raids are now occurring in targeted areas across the nation. These raids have been orchestrated to strike fear in immigrant communities, which include a significant number of our students, their extended families, and other UC Merced community members. I join with President Napolitano in affirming that we will continue to protect the privacy and civil rights of our undocumented community.
 
I encourage each of you to become familiar with the University of California’s Information on Immigration, as well as its FAQ for university faculty and staff on the possibility of federal immigration enforcement actions on university property.
 
While the UC does not have authority to prohibit federal immigration enforcement officers from coming on campus, please know that our campus police officers will not contact, detain, question or arrest an individual solely on the basis of suspected undocumented immigration status, or to discover the immigration status of any individual. Additionally, our officers will not undertake joint efforts with federal immigration enforcement authorities to investigate, detain or arrest individuals for alleged violations of federal immigration law.
 
Further, the access to campus by federal immigration enforcement officers is not unlimited. Limited access areas on campus include buildings and spaces in which access is physically restricted, such as by key card, locked doors or monitored entryways. University housing and clinical areas fall into this category. Limited access spaces also include areas that may normally be left unlocked during the workday, including, for example, administrative or faculty offices, classrooms when classes are in session, clinic exam rooms, locker rooms, research laboratories, kitchens and food preparation areas, maintenance areas, storage facilities and physical plant operations. 
 
Federal immigration enforcement officers should have a judicial warrant to enter limited access spaces. Typically, the warrants carried by federal immigration officers are administrative warrants that do not authorize officers to enter limited access areas without consent of the university. If an immigration officer seeks your consent to enter limited access space or requests information or documents from you about another individual, you should seek the advice of campus legal counsel Elisabeth Gunther (egunther@ucmerced.edu or 209-500-8502), unless you are certain that you have the authority to grant this consent consistent with UC’s guidelines regarding federal immigration enforcement actions on university property.
 
Off campus, in the absence of your consent, federal immigration enforcement officers also do not have a right to enter your place of residence without a judicial warrant that authorizes this entry. If an immigration officer only has a civil or administrative warrant, consent to enter your residence and even the decision to speak with the officer are matters of personal choice. Under such circumstance, consider seeking free legal advice and services via the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center.
 
Our Services for Undocumented Students team is committed to empowering undocumented students to pursue their academic and personal dreams, and also offers resources for those who want to be better allies for those students. They can be reached at undoc@ucmerced.edu. Now more than ever, undocumented members of our campus community deserve our understanding and support.
 
Sincerely,

Dorothy Leland
Chancellor