ICE: Rutgers asked us not to attend career fair
NEWARK — The Office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency said it was asked by Rutgers University not to participate in Wednesday's Career Fair.
The group RUDreamers posted an online petition on Friday asking the university to "disinvite" ICE from participating in the Government and Public Service Career Fair at Rutgers University-Newark. The group claimed a "victory" on the petition and said ICE withdrew from the fair which will have over 30 participants from state, regional and national law enforcement agencies along with non-related organizations such as Target and the Christ Church.
ICE spokesman Emilio Dabul in an email on Tuesday night told us in an email that "upon request from Rutgers administrative officials this past weekend, we voluntarily withdrew our participation."
Rutgers-Newark Senior Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Peter T. Englot in a statement on Tuesday afternoon said that "the local ICE legal research office concluded that their presence at the career fair at this point would run counter to their goals to recruit students at this event and to the spirit of the event, so they withdrew from participation."
That conclusion was reached after ICE was made aware of the petition and student concerns as reported in the student newspaper, The Daily Targum, according to Englot. He said ICE and Rutgers reached a mutual agreement ICE would not participate.
Rutgers-Newark student and DACA recipient Esder Chong told the newspaper that the ICE representatives would not be allowed to wear their uniforms at the fair or park vehicles on the university grounds.
Chong said actual ICE agents would not be present at the fair. The agency would be represented by their research unit.
Chong's connection to the fair is not made clear in the story and Englot would not confirm Chong's comments.
Englot did not say what Rutgers thought would happen if ICE were present. He also did not comment about objections being raised about other participants in the fair which include Christ Church; the Delaware Department of Correction; Port Authority police and state police from New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania; the New York Police Department; Philadelphia police; the FBI; the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness; the New Jersey Department of Children and Families; Target; and the U.S. Army.
The agency successfully participated in last year's fair, according to Dabul, and was initially invited back.
"We look forward to working with Rutgers University in the future, although it is unfortunate that the university is disregarding the needs of those students who seek a career with ICE. We encourage all Rutgers University students seeking a rewarding and challenging career in law enforcement to consider a position with ICE.” Dabul said.
He said Rutgers alumni are employed by ICE in New Jersey and across the country as Homeland Security Investigations special agents investigating and dismantling human trafficking networks; as assistant chief counsels representing the federal government in courtrooms; and as officers enforcing immigration laws.
RU Dreamers in their petition said ICE's presence "would create an unsafe and exclusive environment for students" and would "challenge the proactive and inclusive stance the RU-B has taken in fostering safety, support and diversity in our community."
RU Dreamers has not yet returned several messages seeking comment.
Rutgers Board of Governors have proclaimed the school's campuses in New Brunswick, Piscataway, Camden and Newark as "safe havens" for immigrant students in the country illegally.
"In today’s political environment, the term 'sanctuary' has become encumbered by vague and shifting definitions. We must be focused on policy and principles, not labels. But make no mistake: by providing a safe space for our students and faculty, regardless of nationality or background, Rutgers is and will always be a sanctuary," president Robert Barchi said in a statement provided to New Jersey 101.5 last December when the declaration was made.
Members of the New Jersey Senior Public Colleges and Universities, including Kean, TCNJ, Montclair, Rowan, Thomas Edison, Ramapo, Stockton and William Paterson, released a statement similar to Barchi's, promising to protect their students. They said the colleges would require legal action to release "personally identifiable information."
The NJSPCU members said students are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which gives students control over how their information from education records is disclosed.