Supporting our community

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Jaye Padgett, Vice Provost, Student Success

UC Santa Cruz has heard the distressing news that the parents of one of our students, Melin Mendoza-Sanchez, have been deported by U.S. immigration authorities. I offer Melin and her family the university’s full support.

Melin’s parents, Oakland residents Maria Mendoza-Sanchez and Eusebio Sanchez, lived in the U.S. for more than two decades, but were unable to obtain legal status. Maria was a nurse in the oncology and cardiology wing of Highland Hospital, and Eusabio was a truck driver. Melin is a U.S. citizen. She and her sister, an alumna, plan to see their younger sister through two more years of high school. Their younger brother is returning to Mexico with their parents.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein attempted to intervene on behalf of the family, but U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement rejected the appeal Tuesday.

While the Trump administration has said it will maintain the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which for the past five years has allowed an estimated 700,000 students known as Dreamers to live, work, and study in the United States, the program does not offer permanent protections to them, and no legal protections are extended to their families. This has created massive uncertainty for many students at UC Santa Cruz, throughout the UC system, and across the nation. Many fear their families will be torn apart.

Incidents like these are a reminder of the need for comprehensive immigration reform that allows families to remain together and recognizes the huge contributions that immigrant communities have made to our country.

UC Santa Cruz will continue to provide services and support to all students without regard to immigration status. The campus has a host of programs and services focused on the needs of undocumented students and students dealing with immigration issues, including immigration issues in mixed status families. I encourage staff, students, and faculty to familiarize themselves with the services and resources available to support undocumented students at the Educational Opportunity Programs office or through the University of California’s Undocumented Student Resources website. If students or campus community members need to speak with someone to get or learn about support for undocumented students, please reach out to Anna Campos, 831-459-3048, or Pablo Reguerin, 831-428-2839. The University of California offers free legal immigration services to UC undocumented students and immediate family members through the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center.

The UC system also has strongly supported immigrant students. UC President Janet Napolitano, UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal and the nine other UC chancellors all have pledged to protect the privacy and civil rights of undocumented students.

To members of the UC Santa Cruz community, please consider using the resources above to learn more about undocumented students, about the challenges they face, and about ways you can support them.