Rutgers University students who are considering a job with United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will now have to seek out that opportunity on their own. ICE was forced to cancel its appearance at Rutgers' annual career fair after students complained that their mere presence on campus made them feel unsafe.
Rutgers "Dreamers," a group of students who claim to be "unauthorized immigrants" and their "allies," as well as Rutgers students who have qualified for temporary amnesty under the DACA program, circulated a petition on Change.org asking the school to "dis-invite I.C.E." because ICE recruiters "created an intolerable and unsafe environment for students," the career fair was supposed to be "inclusive," and because students with "traumatic, personal experiences regarding I.C.E would be emotionally distressed."
"This is disturbing and unacceptable," one of the petition's demands read. "Career fairs are intended to promote an inclusive environment for all RU students. This decision would alienate (undocumented) students from access to academic and professional opportunities."
Only a handful of students signed the petition, but the Rutgers Dreamers were determined to see that ICE did not step foot on campus, so they reportedly organized a protest at the Rutgers career fair, designed to draw attention to ICE's presence.
Under pressure, ICE withdrew its bid to be part of the career fair and instructed interested students to contact them through a field office.
"After conversation with Rutgers-Newark student affairs leadership, the local ICE legal research office concluded that their presence at the career fair at this point would run counter to their goals to recruit students at this event and to the spirit of the event, so they withdrew from participation," Peter Englot, Rutgers senior vice chancellor for public affairs and chief of staff told NJ.com.
ICE does have quite a few job openings, and runs an extensive program that recruits and trains recent university graduates.