UIPD clarifies role in immigration enforcement

URBANA – Following the president’s executive order on immigration, the University of Illinois Police Department’s first priority continues to be the safety and academic success of all students, faculty and staff.

UIPD is reminding students and others who may be affected by the order that officers do not inquire about anyone’s immigration status. Additionally, UIPD does not arrest anyone solely based on their immigration status and does not act on detainers issued by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The Champaign County Jail does not hold individuals affected by ICE detainers.

The only time officers are required to take immigration enforcement action is when a judge has signed a warrant. Officers may inquire about an individual’s country of origin to notify their consulate of an arrest, but that inquiry does not include questions about immigration status.

Following the executive order on immigration, UIPD is clarifying these long-standing practices so that campus community members affected by the executive order may feel encouraged to approach university police officers with problems, questions or concerns.

“Our international community is highly-valued and an integral part of our university’s success,” said U. of I. Police Lt. Joan Fiesta. “As part of the university community, we support them and want to make them feel welcome and comfortable coming to us if they need help.”

The executive orders to date do not mandate that local law enforcement agencies to change their policies on immigration enforcement.

The University of Illinois Police Department will continue to monitor the actions of the president’s administration and communicate with affected students if there are any changes to the police department’s practices. At this time, the department is not anticipating any changes to the way it addresses immigration issues.

To date, the president’s administration has taken no action to modify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Lt. Fiesta serves as the University Police representative to a campus-wide working group set up to monitor and address issues related to immigration.

“We routinely work with our campus partners to address issues of concern to our international community,” Fiesta said. “We’re continuing this work with community and university advocates to train and guide our officers to work in a way that balances human dignity with public safety.”

UIPD is nonetheless reminding students of other resources should they feel uncomfortable calling or approaching police officers. Anyone with emergency issues should still call 911, but those with non-emergency safety concerns may also contact these offices:

  • Emergency Dean: 217-333-0500
  • Counseling Center: 217-333-3704
  • International Student and Scholar Services (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.): 217-333-1303

More information about the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s practices on immigration can be found at http://go.illinois.edu/openillinois2.

“Our international students, faculty and staff have always been be vital to the excellence of our university and our community,” said U. of I. Police Chief Jeff Christensen. “We will continue to welcome everyone into Champaign-Urbana and support them in any way we can.”