President-elect Trump has made few suggestions on how higher education will be affected during his time in presidency. His choice in secretary of education also gave few answers about the future of secondary education. President-elect Donald Trump, declared former Republican Party chairwoman of Michigan and public advocate for the privatization of public education, Betsy DeVos, as the next Secretary of Education pending Senate approval. Betsy DeVos is largely known for her pro-school-choice stance that diverts taxpayer dollars from public schools to private and parochial schools, but has lacked a definite stance in higher-education issues. Although his choice for secretary of education does not predict how higher education will be affected, Trump’s stance during his run for presidency and recent statements forecast what might occur in UC Merced and secondary schools.
Enrollment for international students in higher education is expected to decline with the Trump administration-
“Phillip Atbalch, research professor and founding director of the center for International Higher Education at Boston College said that, Mr. Trump’s promise to implement “extreme vetting” of Muslims and other immigrants to the US will “deter some students from applying to US schools” and “make it more difficult” for those who do apply.”
Similar reactions occurred after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, higher education was vastly impacted, enrollment from international students also declined. The decrease of enrollment was not only a result of fear but also due to policies enacted such as visa regulation that steered international students away from attending universities/colleges in the U.S. Trump’s outspokenness about issues that embed lack of inclusivity parallel issues that arose during 9/11. Those with visas felt fearful and unwelcomed, and students nationwide have spoken out about that fear after the election. Sahir Choudhary, a Cornell student explained his concerns:
“Sahir Choudhary ’20 said he fears Trump’s election will inspire racist incidents targeting minorities and international students…Choudhary said his parents are keeping a keen eye on the events unfolding in the United States. “Although I’ve told them that things are better than they seem, [my parents] are seriously re-considering whether they should send my sister to the United States for her undergraduate degree next year,” he said.”
According to the U.S Department of Commerce, International students in higher education contributed over $30.5 billion to the U.S Economy in 2015. The University of California system classifies over six percent of its undergraduates as international students and two point three of students in UC Merced according to Becky Mirza, the Interm Director of International Affairs.
A decline of these international students will affect the local economy as will the U.S’ competitive advantage in the global education market to countries who have more lenient policies regarding international students enrollment.
In 2012, President Barack Obama signed an executive order that established the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA was implemented in order to give temporary relief from removal from the United States for 2 years. President-elect Donald Trump, in the past has been open about his stance against undocumented immigrants during his time running for office. With 415,000 eligible DACA participants in in California alone, concerns over what will happen to these participants have rattled schools all over the nation.
On November 30, 2016 the University of California released a statement of principles in support of undocumented students to the UC community. Various UC students of the 9 campuses addressed concerns post-election to administration including: release of residency data and compliance made by the UC to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), prejudice against undocumented students, and lack of protection and/or by law officials and medical assistance, etc. The statements made in response to student fears discussed its commitment to, “creating an environment in which all admitted students can successfully matriculate and graduate.” The UC statement also included:
“Undocumented applicants with or without DACA status will be considered for admission on the same basis as any U.S. citizen or other applicant…No UC campus police department will join those state and local law enforcement agencies that have entered into an agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)…Campus police should avoid actions that create a disincentive to report crime, or to offer testimony as a witness to a crime, such as requesting information about immigration status from crime victims and witnesses…Campus police officers will not detain an individual in response to an immigration hold request from ICE, or any other law enforcement agency enforcing federal immigration law, unless doing so is required by law… The University’s medical centers treat all patients who require our services without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship or other protected characteristics.”
The 2-page statement sent to all UC students expressed their support against discrimination on students without documentation, local police enforcement will not comply with ICE in the search for undocumented students in efforts of deportation, and medical assistance will also not discriminate against any protected characteristics. Although president-elect Trump has vowed to cut federal funding from “sanctuary cities,” that do not comply with federal law, there is still speculation on whether campuses might lose federal funding from refusing to adhere with federal law. University of California campuses will only detain a student for ICE if the individual is convicted of a, “serious or violent felony.”
University of California campuses are not the only ones refusing to comply with Trump’s threats of cutting federal funding from “sanctuary cities,” University of Illinois also listed demands for their school in order to guarantee privacy from ICE, Oberlin College in Ohio also formed similar petitions to begin the process of making their campus, a sanctuary campus.
Overall, students are expressing the need of sanctuary campuses, and University of California is expressing its support for students against deportation of undocumented students. Although University of California campuses are conveying support for its students, there is still a sense of uncertainty regarding what will happen if president-elect Trump were to establish an executive order in deporting those who are undocumented.
Trump is expected to be inaugurated on January 20th, 2017 in Washington D.C. It is unclear what will happen in regards to higher education with his choice of administration, but evidence suggests that the lack of inclusiveness in Trump’s rhetoric has polarized students and therefore caused issues of fear that is likely to lead a decline of enrollment in international students in the U.S and in UC Merced. The urgency for the need of sanctuary campuses has also exponentially risen causing activists to organize to refuse to comply with federal law.
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