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UC Regents Once Again Pass On Changing Employment Eligibility For Undocumented Students

A man with brown skin and wearing a bright blue sweatshirt stands at a microphone in an auditorium filled with people.
UCLA student Jeffry Umaña Muñoz urged UC regents at their March 15, 2023 meeting to adopt a plan to open university jobs to students who are undocumented.
(Courtesy of UCLA Center for Immigration Law and Policy)
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Students who are undocumented at the University of California remain hopeful, even after a meeting of UC regents didn't take up the issue of allowing those students to hold campus employment.

Members of a multi-campus UC student coalition urged the UC regents at their meeting on Wednesday to change hiring practices at the 10-campus system and grant employment to students who are undocumented and don’t have work permits.

California’s rising housing and food prices are placing a heavier burden on college students. Advocates say opening employment to students who are undocumented would help more graduate and would open professional opportunities.

“We kind of expected it to take long,” said UCLA undergraduate student Abraham Cruz Hernandez. “[The proposal is] completely novel, but the good thing is that we're still engaging with the UC about this,” he said.

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This is the sixth regents meeting since the Undocumented Student-Led Network submitted the idea in September, which was studied and is supported by legal scholars across the country. Those scholars say the U.S. government’s principal immigration law doesn’t explicitly prohibit states and their agencies from hiring people who are undocumented.

UC President Michael Drake has said it’s a priority to keep a UC education affordable. A spokesman for Drake said earlier this month that the proposal’s being studied and next steps are being considered.

The regents meet again on May 16 at UCLA. You can watch here.

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Adolfo Guzman-Lopez focuses on the stories of students trying to overcome academic and other challenges to stay in college — with the goal of creating a path to a better life.

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