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UC Board of Regents votes to explore employment for students without legal status

Community members hold a sign in support of the Opportunity for All campaign at a rally. The UC Board of Regents supported the campaign’s demands for access to employment regardless of immigration status, approving a task force that will look into its implementation. (Julia Zhou/Daily Bruin)

By Catherine Hamilton

May 18, 2023 1:23 p.m.

The UC Board of Regents unanimously approved a working group Thursday that will explore how to allow all students to work regardless of immigration status. 

The regents, who met at the Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center, first discussed the Regents Policy on Equitable Student Employment Opportunities during a closed board session, followed by voting during the open session. The regents affirmed that every student deserves access to job opportunities in the University regardless of immigration status. The adopted policy will create a working group to evaluate and determine the next steps through November. 

The proposal comes after student and professor advocacy from the Opportunity for All campaign, which launched in October with support from many legal scholars and labor advocates at UCLA. Members of the campaign argue that the University should legally hire students without legal status for positions such as on-campus jobs and research positions since they are not federal jobs. 

[Related: UCLA community calls on UC to allow hiring of students without legal status]

The meeting began with a public comment period, with many individuals urging the UC to adopt the campaign. The UC-wide organization hosted a rally Wednesday outside Kerckhoff Hall to hear from faculty and students and then formed a picket line outside the conference center. 

The UC Office of the President did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

Ahilan Arulanantham, the faculty co-director of the Center for Immigration Law and Policy – which is involved with the campaign – said student involvement in the working group will be essential.

“Implementing something like this is complex,” they said. “We understand that the students have a very deep understanding of what is involved in negotiating the bureaucracy of the University as undocumented students.” 

Karely Amaya, a public policy graduate student without legal status, said that while the process has been tiring, she will keep pushing the working group to give students a seat at the table and hold the UC accountable. 

“I don’t have a right to employment. I can’t take advantage of benefits,” she said. “And now they’re saying, ‘We see you. We hear you. We will employ you.’” 

 

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Catherine Hamilton | News editor
Hamilton is the 2023-2024 News editor and a Copy staff member. She was previously the 2022-2023 national news and higher education beat editor and a national news contributor. She is also a third-year gender studies and political science student minoring in professional writing.
Hamilton is the 2023-2024 News editor and a Copy staff member. She was previously the 2022-2023 national news and higher education beat editor and a national news contributor. She is also a third-year gender studies and political science student minoring in professional writing.
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