University of Arizona president writes letter on immigration law

From College News - In address, President Robert N. Shelton says law raises "troubling questions" about campus international community.

Arizona’s new immigration law has already proven to be quite controversial. Since its passage, there have been protests and calls to boycott the state because of the legislation, which grants state law enforcement the authority to ask people who they “reasonably suspect” as being illegal immigrants to provide documentation of their legitimacy on the spot.

Seeking to address concerns about the bill, including critics’ notion that racial profiling will increase because of it, University of Arizona President Robert N. Shelton sent out a memo to campus on Thursday, assuring that “the health and safety of our international students, faculty and professional staff are priorities of the highest order for us, and we are going to do everything possible to help each of them understand the law and its impact. We intend to put in place whatever procedures are necessary to ensure their safety and free movement on campus and in our community.”

Though Shelton says that campus police will be trained thoroughly about the law, he wrote that he understood concerns that some students or faculty might become the victims of racial profiling. Additionally, Shelton notes that the immigration law as already negatively impacted campus, saying:

“The families of a number of out-of-state students (to date all of them honors students) have told us that they are changing their plans and will be sending their children to universities in other states. This should sadden anyone who cares about attracting the best and brightest students to Arizona.”

Shelton concludes his note by saying that he is set to discuss the law with the Arizona Board of Regents, and that the fruits of that discussion will be disclosed at a later date.

By Mark Andrews

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