Several international students said they think the university should pay more attention to issues affecting their community, and hope a new immigration advisory council will help improve their representation on campus.
Chancellor Gene Block created the Chancellor’s Advisory Council on Immigration Policy in March in response to changing immigration policies, including President Donald Trump’s travel ban on individuals from six Muslim-majority countries.
In a campuswide email last month, the council explained some of the steps they have taken, including developing guidelines for students traveling abroad and identifying additional resources for undocumented students.
The advisory council consists of 22 members and includes international and undocumented students, immigration and legal experts and administrators from the Undocumented Student Program.
Abel Valenzuela, a co-chair on the advisory council, said the council will provide Block with recommendations to mitigate the negative effects of federal immigration policies on students on campus. For example, the council created an International Visitor’s Protocol for international visitors coming to campus, providing precautions and contacts to help them during their travel.
“(The council’s purpose) is to study the impact of new immigration policies that come out of Washington, D.C., with the new (Trump) administration,” Valenzuela said.
The council has also worked with the Office of Student Affairs to clarify University of California and UCLA policies toward international and undocumented students by responding to student-led demands.
“We have undertaken campuswide communications related to our work and policies related to international students in terms of admissions, financial aid and other issues that might (affect students) as a result of this travel ban,” Valenzuela said.
Valenzuela added the council is also working to help undocumented students who may be impacted by stricter federal policies on undocumented immigration.
“We have met with campus leadership on a regular basis to assess impacts and future impacts that we expect to likely come down,” Valenzuela said.
International students gave mixed responses to the council’s work.
Ung Lik Teng, a member of the International Student Leadership Coalition, which consists of representatives from international student-related organizations, said he thinks the council has done a good job of engaging students.
He added he thinks the council has produced the necessary resources for international and undocumented students under the current federal administration.
“Some of the most salient issues for international students on this campus would be more resources for international students’ integration, English-writing support, internships and (job hunts),” Ung said.
Parshan Khosravi, Graduate Students Association vice president of external affairs, who is also a member of the advisory council, said he thinks it is important for the council reach out to more students because of the diversity in the international student and immigrant community.
“One of the things I try to advocate for (in the council) was to have more active engagement with the students – international or graduate students,” Khosravi said, “I am only one person with my own perspective so I can’t be a representative for all students.”
Valenzuela said the council sent a chancellor list of more in-depth recommendations several weeks ago and said he thinks they will be approved soon.