Protest against the Arrest of Jesus Gutierrez sign now



Dear Chancellor Birgenau, Vice Chancellor Nathan Brostom, and Police Chief Victoria Harrison,

We are writing as a group of concerned students and faculty to protest the arrest of Jesus Gutierrez at his place of work by UC police. The incident is an affront to the values UC Berkeley claims to cherish and should continue to uphold. There is now a significant debate in this country about immigration and undocumented workers, and the fact that the UC police deputized themselves as proxy agents for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) settles in advance university policies without consulting stakeholders like us. UC Berkeleys decision to identify one of its own workers for deportation is deeply out of step with a great number of faculty, students and staff. We suspect that the majority of university employees and Berkeley residents would oppose such actions.

Furthermore, allowing such an arrest is a violation of the norms of the City of Berkeley, a sanctuary city, which has refused to cooperate with ICE. This arrest demeans the city and its residents and further distances the university from the larger community. But most importantly, it is simply wrong. The arrest of Jesus Gutierrez, an AFSCME 3299 member, threatens every campus worker, documented or otherwise, with the threat of arrest and potential deportation at the sole discretion of the university. We understand that Mr. Gutierrez is charged with false impersonation and identity fraud, but these charges ignore the fact that there are tens of thousands of people in this country, if not more, who use false social security numbers merely to earn a living, and not to commit any kind of theft. Using a social security number to earn wages hurts no one, and to conflate the actions of Mr. Gutierrez with criminal identity fraud is deeply unjust. We are supported in this conclusion, we believe, by the recent Supreme Court ruling in Flores-Figueroa vs. The United States.

We encourage the administration to make UC Berkeley a sanctuary institution and to refuse any action on matters related to immigration. Furthermore, we encourage the administration to undo the harm it has done to Mr. Gutierrez and his family by working with ICE to ensure his release, and by reinstating him in his job.

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