UPDATE: Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) decided not to come to campus for the Career Fair due to their own “unforeseen circumstances,” according to a St. John’s University spokesperson. In a statement to the Torch, the university also defended its decision to invite them.
In an email response for a request to comment, University spokesperson Brian Browne said ICE was among the groups invited because it benefits students to have more potential employment opportunities.
“St. John’s University understands the seriousness of the political rhetoric around the issue of immigration reform and how that rhetoric impacts government policy and attitudes toward immigrants,” Browne said. “As we have for 148 years, St. John’s continues to embrace our founding mission to be a place for immigrants and their children to attain a quality education. This mission helps to shape our values and strategic priorities.”
He mentioned the majors that could benefit from the representatives of ICE.
“St. John’s has several majors, including Homeland Security and Criminal Justice that present students with career opportunities in the area of immigration. For students in these majors, this may involve employment by several federal agencies including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”). It would not serve our priority of ensuring student success if we inhibit the ability of these students to pursue relevant career opportunities. Students studying at St. John’s today may someday become a force for meaningful and comprehensive immigration reform within ICE.”
However, in a response to the concerns and ongoing protest taking place today, Browne said that they are “important” to the University.
“We understand the concerns expressed by some students with regard to ICE, and the request by some students not to allow their participation in the University’s career fair. These concerns are important to us and we consider them as we move towards our commitment to the strategic priority to ensure student success.”
He added, “Our commitment to student success embraces our students across all majors and includes ensuring professional opportunities in their respective fields of study. We support efforts to voice concerns about ICE policies and practices, and we are willing to discuss ways that we may partner with our students to be able to bring greater attention and education to these issues.”
By the start of the Career Fair at 11 a.m., some students stood outside Taffner Field House with posters that read, “St. John’s profits off diversity then invites ICE and CBP to campus,” among others.
Representatives from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will no longer be in attendance at the Career Fair in Taffner today, according to an internal email posted at 10:30 am.
The announcement comes just as various student organizations have been posting on social media about plans for a protest to take place on campus today. Some faculty members also were outspoken on social media about hosting ICE on campus.
Seemingly in response, University Career Services sent an internal email stating that ICE is “no longer able to attend.”
US Customs and Border Protection are still in attendance according to the University’s Career Services app. Organizations have also expressed discomfort with their representatives recruiting on campus.
Multicultural organizations, such as Latin American Student Organization, Sensación Dance Group, Latin fraternity Phi Iota Alpha and Haraya, took to social media to announce #NOICESJU, a hashtag that began as the various organizations expressed “anger” and “panic” among their peers.
This is an ongoing story, check back for updates.