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Higher Education University of California

UC President Janet Napolitano blasts Trump immigration crackdown as a backward step

 (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

University of California President Janet Napolitano blasted the Trump administration's immigration crackdown on Wednesday, calling it a step backward that would make communities less safe.

Napolitano, who served as U.S. Homeland Security secretary under President Obama, said the vast expansion of deportation priorities announced by the White House this week would not work in the long run.

"The new guidance essentially makes all undocumented immigrants in the United States priorities for enforcement," she said in a statement given to The Times. "When everyone is a priority, there are essentially no priorities — and my experience as secretary of Homeland Security and governor of Arizona showed clearly that the lack of priorities undermines effective immigrant enforcement and makes our communities less safe.

"I’m also deeply concerned that such broad, ill-defined parameters will stoke fear and anxiety in immigrant communities across the nation, making immigrants — whether here legally or undocumented — much less likely to work with local law enforcement to help keep our communities safe.

"This approach is a step backward from the progress the Obama administration made to establish a more just, humane immigration system and it also fails to comprehensively address the many areas of our immigration system that need to be addressed," she said.

The Trump administration did not say what it would do with so-called Dreamers — young people brought to the country illegally as children and given protection under Obama. Napolitano said UC would continue to protect and defend such students, who number about 3,700 on its campuses.

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