Middlesex County News

RU President Mobilizes to Protect Undocumented Students

909810be78d11384e9b7_20161101_RU_Groundbreaking_007.JPG
Rutgers University President Robert Barchi, seen here during a groundbreaking ceremony, wrote an email to students regarding a bill that would protect undocumented immigrants.
e7a3b67db7e7f4761f83_b3b77133578afb4bd96e859197dd2a19rutgersprotestleaderrichardgarzon.jpg
Rutgers protesters last fall.
83ba283253dff14f174a_Rutgers_Email_1.jpg
The first portion of Barchi's email to the student body.
7d3c8977ff7ff39493da_Rutgers_Email_2.jpg
The second portion of Barchi's email to the student body.
909810be78d11384e9b7_20161101_RU_Groundbreaking_007.JPG

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Rutgers University President Robert Barchi has sent an email informing the student body of a federal bill known as the BRIDGE Act, which advocates say would better protect undocumented college students.

The proposal would essentially build upon former President Barack Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. Both provide “work authorization and protection from deportation” to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country before age 16 and lived here since, according to advocates.

In Barchi’s email—which was obtained by the conservative-funded, anti-bias watchdog news site Campus Reform—the president highlighted a means for students to write their representatives in support of the BRIDGE Act. But he didn’t urge them to do so.

Sign Up for E-News

“Taking action to show your support is easy—it will take no more than a minute or two of your time,” Barchi wrote, providing a link where students could enter their name and address and generate a pre-written “letter of support” to their representatives.

In the next paragraph of the email, however, Barchi emphasized that participation is “entirely optional,” though he supports the bill.

“I would never presume to tell you what to do with respect to legislative advocacy,” he wrote. “We are offering this option to you because many in our community have participated in activities to bring attention to the plight and status of undocumented students.”

Indeed, Rutgers became a hotbed of pro-immigrant demonstrations in the fall 2016 semester, as students grew concerned over what a Donald Trump presidency could mean for undocumented students.

In December, dozens of activists took to a Board of Governors meeting and ultimately shut it down with calls for Barchi to declare Rutgers a “sanctuary school.” From there, they staged a sit-in in the Old Queens administration building.

Less than a month earlier, hundreds—or even thousands—of Rutgers students and faculty members left their classes to march through New Brunswick in protest against Trump.

Barchi, meanwhile, has committed to defending undocumented Rutgers students.

The writer for Campus Reform, which provided TAPinto New Brunswick with a copy of Barchi’s remarks, alleged that the president might have violated university policy by sending the email.

Karen Smith, a spokesperson for Rutgers, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from TAPinto New Brunswick.

But she told Campus Reform that “Barchi understands that students have a variety of positions and that while many support [the BRIDGE Act], there are some who do not. The intention of this letter was to give students the option of voicing their opinion in an effective way.”

Barchi’s email has drawn the ire of at least one campus conservative group, whose secretary called the move “inappropriate.”

A group of several Republican and Democratic lawmakers have co-sponsored of the bill in question, in both the U.S. House and the Senate.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Edison

Prosecutor: FBI Agent Took Improper Photos of Woman in Dressing Room

July 21, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK,NJ  - An FBI agent was arrested and charged with illegally photographing a 22-year-old woman in a dressing room, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said today.

The agent, Danuel Brown, 30, of Piscataway, was arrested was Thursday and charged with a single count of fourth-degree invasion of privacy for allegedly using his cell phone to take pictures of the woman while ...

Mayors Push for Law Permitting Driver's License for Immigrants

July 20, 2018

PERTH AMBOY, NJ - Five mayors from northern and central New Jersey today called for passage of a state law permitting immigrants to get driver's licenses even if they are undocumented, saying it boosts public safety as well as the economy.

"This is important for every resident for a better life and a better life for the state of New Jersey," said Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda ...

Edison Based India Day Parade Kick's Off in Washington D.C.

July 20, 2018

In a “Kickoff Event” for the annual India Day Parade, taking place this year on August 12th in Edison, members of the Indian Business Association descended on Capitol Hill to promote national awareness of the annual celebration and highlight policy issues affecting Indian-Americans.

 

The event, held in the conference room of House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, was ...

Crowdfunding Options for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

Source: Many small start-up businesses and tech ventures in search of capital turn to popular online platforms for crowd fundraising of financial resources to get their concept off the ground and launched into market. Indiegogo, Kickstarter, and GoFundMe, to name a few, offer solutions in generating cash to fund new ideas. How do you get people to contribute to your cause?  Sam Burlum ...