The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) student government unanimously passed a resolution banning the use of the term “illegal immigrant” labeling it as racially derogatory.
The resolution was taken up in response to undocumented UCLA students expressing “fear” at the appointment of Janet Napolitano, former head of Homeland Security, as University president. Under Napolitano’s watch a record number of deportations of undocumented immigrants transpired.
The resolution goes further in stating the term “illegal immigrant” violates human rights guarantees protected by the constitution. As a result of the resolution UCLA student government will urge student journalists and campus organizations not to use the term.
Undocumented students can go to any college or university in California if they meet admissions requirements. The state’s public university system has always maintained a friendly posture to the undocumented. In 2009 it established the Bruin Resource Center, which now holds programs and workshops to support students. The 2011 AB 540 program allows undocumented students who meet specific criteria to pay in-state tuition. In 2012 UCLA through its National Dream University launched an online learning program, regardless of legal status, the chance to study immigrant and labor rights.