Last week the University of California announced that it will not cooperate with federal immigration agents and that it welcomes students, quote, "without regard to their immigration status." It's a move that could put the university directly in conflict with the Trump administration.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST
I spoke about this with Janet Napolitano. She's the president of the University of California. She also served as secretary of Homeland Security under President Obama. She says she made the announcement to help reassure students who don't have legal immigration status, which she estimates is around 4,000 undergraduates in the whole UC system.
Many of them are in DACA, which is the federal program which defers action for childhood arrivals. So what can we do to make sure these students can focus on their studies, go to class, whatever, without constantly looking over their shoulder to see whether there's an ICE agent ready to pick them up?
You mentioned ICE - Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Your school is saying that you won't let campus police help state or federal immigration investigators look into these students. You won't help with questioning or detention. You won't release records without a warrant.
Now, as the Department of Homeland Security secretary, you signed off on this program - DACA. So you know how the law works. Are you saying these are all the things that could happen to these students under a different administration?
Possibly. I mean, and so what we're saying is, look, our campus police need to focus on things like campus safety. They're not adjunct immigration officers. And it would be a voluntary arrangement if we were to do something at the request of ICE. And we're just saying from the get go, no, that's not where our interests lie.