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Sunday, June 23, 2024

University of California board of regents approves work opportunities for undocumented students on campuses

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UCLA students are chanting for undocumented students to be allowed to work on campus on Sept. 18. [Julia Zhou/Daily Bruin]
The University of California Board of Regents unanimously passed a motion on May 18 to allow undocumented students to work on UC campuses.

This decision by UC opens doors to employment for thousands of undocumented young adults who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children by their parents and have faced unemployment and instability due to their legal status.

However, the implementation of this policy may take some time due to public school hiring rules falling under federal law.

To address the legal issues involved, the UC Regents have established a working group that will review the matter and present a plan by November. They acknowledge that the move is likely to be met with controversy.

Until now, UCs have prohibited the hiring of undocumented students based on a federal law enacted in 1986, which prohibits public university systems from employing students without legal status.

However, UCLA lawyers have recently interpreted the law as inapplicable to the University of California, arguing that the language establishing employer sanctions does not specifically mention “state” or “UC,” indicating that the law does not apply to state entities like the University of California.

Currently, there are approximately 44,000 undocumented students without DACA status attending universities, including 4,000 at the University of California.

Due to a court ruling, the federal government ceased accepting new DACA applications last year, only allowing renewals.

As of 2023, an estimated 100,000 students have graduated from U.S. high schools without legal status or DACA benefits.

NICOLE CHANG [support@koreadaily.com]