Public University Provides Guidance for Criminal Aliens to Avoid Authorities

UC Berkeley advises illegal immigrants with convictions on how to avoid becoming a 'priority for removal'

A website hosted by the University of California, Berkeley, warns illegal immigrants with criminal records to avoid applying for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and instead work with an attorney or campus administrators to seek “post-conviction relief.”

UC Berkeley’s Undocumented Student Program webpage contains recommendations for illegal immigrant students seeking to apply or reapply for DACA status given the new presidential administration.

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“UPDATE In light of the new Trump Administration, here’s what you need to know about DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS (DACA),” the website says, warning DACA applicants that it “is unclear whether the Trump Administration will keep DACA and what it would do with the information collected through the program.”

The recommendations include a notice for illegal immigrants with a criminal record to avoid applying for DACA.

“Do not apply for an initial or DACA renewal if you have a recent criminal history, as this may make you a priority for removal and provide the government with the information it needs to place you in removal proceedings,” the webpage reads. “Consult with the USP attorney in such cases, as we may be able to get post-conviction relief in your case.”

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The public university’s webpage did not specify clearly whether taxpayer dollars would be used to fund legal representation for criminal illegal-immigrant students — but the webpage seemed to imply that was a possibility.

Ira Mehlman, media director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), said that it’s one thing for UC Berkeley to extend mere advice to criminal illegal-immigrant students, but “if this entails the university funding legal representation, then that’s quite another thing.”

“But if it is, that takes it to a different level,” he said. “As far as I know, the University of California at Berkeley doesn’t fund legal representation with other criminal cases pending against them.”

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If UC Berkeley does intend to financially support criminal alien students in their legal ventures, Mehlman said it would be “clearly politically motivated and has nothing to do with anything other than the desire of the university to thwart immigration enforcement.”

DACA, established by the Obama administration through executive order in 2012, stipulates that criminal aliens are not eligible to participate in the program.

“In addition to a number of other requirements, to qualify for deferred action a person must not be convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or multiple misdemeanors, and not pose a threat to public safety or national security,” notes the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) on its website.

But this is UC Berkeley, Mehlman said, and nobody “is shocked or surprised” about its nearly all-encompassing defense of illegal immigrants — especially when other California students are struggling.

“Especially given the fact that tuitions in California’s universities have been going through the roof, a lot of people being priced out — and if the case is that they are expending scarce resources on this, that means that those resources are not going toward other people who probably need the tuition breaks or other services,” he said.

“This is pretty much par for the course for California, especially for UC Berkeley. Until the voters in California say that they have had enough, it’s going to happen — or until the federal government starts to enforce laws and hold them accountable,” Mehlman added. “And maybe once this is all clear, Attorney General Jeff Sessions might start looking at some of these actions by California and other governments and start holding them accountable.”

(photo credit, homepage image: Jay Cross, Flickr; photo credit, article image: John Loo, Flickr)

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