Allowing campuses to hire such workers could change the lives of thousands of students and trigger a variety of legal challenges. The ten-campus system would be the first to outright circumvent a law signed in 1986 by then-President Ronald Reagan that prohibited employers from hiring people without federal authorization to work.
A group of progressive law students and scholars — led by UC law school deans and professors — have argued that the Immigration Reform and Control Act does not apply to states. For months, they’ve lobbied the university’s board of trustees to allow campuses to hire undocumented students, who have been placed in a precarious position since a federal judge in 2021 prevented the Biden administration from approving new program beneficiaries Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
« Federal courts have consistently recognized that states have broad powers to determine appropriate qualifications for state positions, including qualifications related to immigration status, » wrote the co-directors of the UCLA Center for Immigration Law and Policy. immigration into a letter explaining their theory in the month of September.
The prestigious university system of nearly 295,000 students already provides legal advice, financial aid and counseling to undocumented students. California’s Democrat-led legislature has passed a series of laws since 2001 extending state tuition to more undocumented students and making it easier for them to apply for state financial aid, in stark contrast to Republican-led states.
The latest move by an internationally visible higher education system could be emulated by other universities that set themselves up as immigration sanctuaries.
Regent José Hernández said Thursday that the UC leadership “identifies UC as a progressive leader in the higher education system. And it is my hope that other states, other educational bodies will follow with us soon. »