UA's Shelton says immigration law 'sends wrong message' about Arizona
University of Arizona President Robert Shelton said in a memo Thursday that Arizona's new illegal immigration law "sends all the wrong messages about our state."
"Illegal immigration is a serious problem that begs a solution from the federal government. It is unfortunate that the state’s efforts to confront it resulted in flawed public policy that sends all the wrong messages about our state."
Shelton's end-of-year note also tried once again to allay fears that campus enforcement of the new law would amount to racial profiling of students, faculty, staff members and visitors.
"I am certain that no one on our campus should fear that because of their ethnicity or national origin they will be accosted by our police."
In a memo sent out last week, Shelton vowed that university police officers "will be receiving extensive training on the specifications of the new law. I have total confidence that they will abide by the letter of the law, which includes a provision that individuals may not be stopped solely on the basis of race, color or national origin."
Gov. Jan Brewer enacted a law that would make it a state crime to be in the country illegally and would require anyone whom police suspect of being in the country illegally to produce "an alien registration document," such as a driver's license, green card, passport or other proof of citizenship.
In the memo, Shelton also said he believes the law will not be on the books for very long.
"It is the expectation of most legal experts that SB1070 will be overturned by the courts."
To: Campus Community
From: Robert N. Shelton
Subject: Thank You
As commencement approaches and the academic year winds to an end, I wanted to write to extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who is a part of our University – faculty, staff and appointed professionals – for the extraordinary effort that has gone into making this year so successful and productive, despite the unprecedented challenges that we faced.
A university is a diverse community of people who share a singular passion for scholarship and discovery and the hope that can blossom in students’ lives when they are given a chance to succeed. We are truly blessed by the people who make up the University of Arizona family, and who have helped this University stand for the most important ideals of our society.
This year we faced historic budget cuts; we mourned the passing of several cherished colleagues; and saw a law passed that, understandably, has offended members of our community and challenged what many believe are their fundamental rights as Americans.
The anger that has been generated by SB1070 is understandable. Many on our campus – whether international students and visitors, or faculty and staff who fear their ethnicity will make them targets – are anxious about its implementation. It is the expectation of most legal experts that SB1070 will be overturned by the courts. Whether or not that happens, I am certain that no one on our campus should fear that because of their ethnicity or national origin they will be accosted by our police.
Illegal immigration is a serious problem that begs a solution from the federal government. It is unfortunate that the state’s efforts to confront it resulted in flawed public policy that sends all the wrong messages about our state.
Despite the turmoil that we have experienced this year, we persevered in a way that should make every one of us proud. We have maintained our commitment to access while continuing to provide a quality educational experience to our students, and we are determined that UA will forever be a welcoming and inclusive community.
For the third consecutive year we enrolled a record number of students, and our freshman class was not only the largest ever, but the most academically gifted and diverse. Our faculty opened doors of discovery and garnered research awards that are the envy of our peers. We transformed our academic enterprise, thanks to input and guidance from those in every college on campus, resulting in productivity gains and exciting new opportunities for collaboration.
I am truly grateful to all of you for the commitment and hard work that you have demonstrated over the past year. There are still challenges ahead, but your efforts have enabled The University of Arizona to maintain its standing as one of the premier research universities in the world. That standing is a tribute to each of you. My thanks for your good work.