To the Administrations of the Washington College of Law and American University:
We the undersigned, as students, student organizations, and faculty at American University, Washington College of Law, are writing to call your attention to our concerns about and discomfort with the presence of any department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on our campus for any purpose, including externship and employment recruitment fairs.
While we understand that there are subdivisions and departments within ICE, including Homeland Security Investigations, Enforcement and Removal Operations, and the Office of Professional Responsibility, and that not all deal with the removal of lawful or unlawful immigrants or non-immigrants in the United States, the presence of ICE on our campus has and continues to make students, faculty, clients, and visitors feel uncomfortable and unsafe. Since April 2018 there have been at least 14 deaths in ICE custody; there were more than 1,200 complaints of sexual abuse of individuals in immigration custody; and, most notably, ICE has separated and continues to separate children from their parents on both the US-Mexico and US-Canadian borders, not to mention family separations within the US by the regular detainment and deportation practices of the Agency. ICE was only founded in 2003, but its legacy is one of pain, suffering, and racism.
American University, Washington College of Law (WCL) is a leader in legal education, priming JD and LLM students to operate as attorneys with a deep and nuanced understanding of human rights. While we understand that ICE is a government agency, we the undersigned cannot reconcile WCL’s role as a national leader in human rights law with its practice of allowing ICE and other Department of Homeland Security branches onto campus to recruit students in their practice of abusing and detaining immigrants and citizens alike.
We deeply appreciate and value our school’s morals, integrity, and leadership. As such, we urge the administration of WCL, particularly its externship office, to change its policy regarding its longstanding invitation to ICE for our externship fairs or any other future school event.
Members of the WCL Community
UNDERSIGNED STUDENTS, ALUMNI, & FACULTY
Latino/a Law Students' Association, WCL Chapter
National Lawyers Guild, WCL Chapter
If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice, WCL Chapter
Black Law Student Association, WCL Chapter
OUTLaw, WCL Chapter
PETITION UPDATE: May 22, 2020
In light of the recent unauthorized sharing of nearly 1,400 American University student’s’ immigration statuses with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), De-ICE WCL has banned together with American University students to form De-ICE AU/WCL. We have expanded our petition to demand the immediate discontinuation of AU and WCL’s partnerships with any and all immigration law enforcement agencies, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
On May 15, 2020, American University hosted a virtual career fair and invited CBP to attend. The WCL Office of Career and Professional Development also invited WCL’s student body to attend this event. In order to register for the event, American University required students to provide their full names and immigration statuses prior to attendance. Unbeknownst to the students, American University shared this information with all hiring organizations in attendance, including CBP. At the conclusion of the fair, CBP inadvertently emailed a spreadsheet containing all of the sensitive information––including the attending students’ immigration statuses–– to the nearly 1,400 students who participated in the event. Undocumented and underdocumented American University and WCL students and their families are at risk as a result of this inappropriate disclosure of information by American University to CBP as well as CBP’s subsequent disemination to all individuals in attendance.
In light of this flagrant violation of student privacy and compromising of student safety, De-ICE AU/WCL is calling on American University and WCL to:
- Issue a public apology for the inappropriate disclosure of information that has put vulnerable students and their families at risk.
- Detail how the administration’s leaders plan to provide support and protection to students impacted by this breach.
- Discontinue career partnerships with immigration enforcement agencies, including ICE and CBP
DeICE AU/WCL and members of our respective communities, including:
UNDERSIGNED STUDENTS, ALUMNI, & FACULTY
- Email us at WCLAbolishICE@gmail.com with any questions or requests to add an AU or WCL student organization as a signatory.
- Find us on instagram at @DeICE_AUWCL
- Share this petition using #DeICEAUWCL and #DeICEWCL