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UCLA student government creates fund to pay illegal immigrants who serve in office

The Undergraduate Students Association Council at UCLA recently voted to create a fund to allow students in the country illegally to be paid if they are elected to the student government.

The minutes of the March 2 meeting show $23,000 in funding for “UndocuCouncil Member Stipends.” It passed unanimously.

The fund creates a pathway to allow council members who are undocumented and cannot be legally employed under state law to still be financially compensated for their work should they be elected to the student council.

“[B]ecause the University of California’s payroll system cannot hire students without work authorization, undocumented students without Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status cannot receive stipends as wages,” the Daily Bruin reports.

The fund will now allow such students to be paid directly through financial aid.

This proposal was brought to the table after a situation occurred in February 2020 in which a student on the council whose work permit was revoked due to the rejection of her DACA application did not receive her stipend money, according to the Bruin.

Proponents contend the fund will encourage more students in the country illegally to run for student government.

But critics argue the move seems to take funding from the majority of the legal student body to provide for a select few undocumented students who are already ineligible for paid work in the United States.

The fund’s creation prompted the California College Republicans, as well as UCLA’s on-campus Bruin Republicans, to call for “an investigation by ICE and other immigration services.”

A news release from the groups called the stipends “funding workarounds.”

The Undergraduate Students Association Council, according to the Bruin Republicans, “already overcharges” the student body, and has committed “treason” by “orchestrat[ing] the funneling of [their] student fees to pay illegals,” the news release states.

Dylan Martin, a spokesperson for the California College Republicans, told The College Fix that the “existence of financial aid alone for this group funnels the money of citizens to foreign nationals.”

Martin called it “a slap in the face to citizens, and it further incentivizes illegal immigration.”

Despite the vote to subvert payroll rules, a Daily Bruin editorial indicated that even this step is not nearly enough of a response from the council and the university itself.

The newspaper called the vote a “Band-Aid on a larger, UC-wide problem” of not providing enough resources for undocumented students.

The USAC did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The College Fix, which according to Martin is a part of a larger pattern of ignoring accountability for actions such as these.

“We have not received a response from UCLA or USAC,” Martin said. “School administrations and student governments tend to remain silent unless media pressure escalates — or a lawsuit hits their desk. It’s unfortunate that they may get away with sweeping this under the rug.”

However, Martin and his organization has not given up on the possibility of an adequate response to the council’s decision. The CCR is “looking into potential legal challenges,” and “all options are on the table,” Martin told The College Fix.

“We believe that one of the best ways to change school policies is for conservative-minded students to run for student government,” he said.

“While the task may seem daunting, it’s possible to be elected even by far-left peers. We successfully pulled this off at UC Irvine, and the conservatives took control of the student Senate. They were able to rein in the student government’s liberal policies.”

MORE: UCLA exonerates lecturer who questioned race-based grading

IMAGE: Chris Radcliff / Flickr

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About the Author
Hunter Gallo -- Harvard University