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California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office provides guidance related to undocumented students

December 6, 2016
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California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office

The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office provided a guiding statement of principles to the system’s 113 colleges as they adjust to uncertainty over possible immigration policy changes that have the potential to affect undocumented students.

The guidance comes after incoming Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley joined with leaders of the University of California and the California State University to formally request that President-elect Donald J. Trump preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows children of undocumented immigrants to pursue higher education in the United States.

“It is vital that these students, who were brought to this country as children, have the ability to learn without fear of being deported,” Oakley said. “The California community colleges stand with these students because they represent some of the best qualities that our state and nation have to offer.”

The Chancellor’s Office guidance provided to colleges reaffirms the following principles:

- The California Community Colleges are open to all students who meet the minimum requirements for admission, regardless of immigration status. 

- The Chancellor’s Office will not release any personally identifiable student information, including any data related to immigration status, without a judicial warrant, subpoena or court order, unless authorized by the student or required by law. 

- The Chancellor’s Office will not cooperate with any federal effort to create a registry of individuals based on any protected characteristics such as religion, national origin, race, or sexual orientation.

- The Chancellor’s Office will continue to advocate for educational opportunities for all students in the community college system, regardless of immigration status, at the state and federal level. 

While the Chancellor’s Office acknowledges local authority and control in the administration of our community colleges, we encourage our local community college districts to consider our system’s values when responding to this situation. We find the following strategies to be consistent with these values and recommend using them as a starting point for your local deliberations in these matters:

- District police departments should not detain, question or arrest any individual solely on the basis of (suspected) undocumented immigration status.

- Districts should not cooperate with any federal effort to create a registry of individuals based on any protected characteristics such as religion, national origin, race or sexual orientation.

- No confidential student records should be released without a judicial warrant, subpoena or court order, unless authorized by the student or required by law.

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