GEO petitions against UI support for ICE

Screenshot courtesy of

A screenshot of GEO’s petition against ICE on

By Daniel Renteria, Staff Writer

On March 10, the Graduate Employees’ Organization Solidarity Committee shared on their Facebook page a petition calling for the University to end their support for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Border Patrol on the basis of these organization’s “racist immigration policies.”

The shared petition is directed specifically to the Career Center, Student Affairs and the Critical Infrastructure Resilience Institute. The petition references a National Public Radio report on documents collected by the American Civil Liberties Union, which exposed how migrants were abused physically, sexually and psychologically by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

According to the petition, “The University of Illinois Career Services and Student Affairs should stop hosting job postings for the Border Patrol and for all other agencies involved in the abuse of migrants. In addition, (UI) should cease partnering with the (Department of Homeland Security) and providing research and technological support to these agencies.”

“We are dedicated to giving all students a wide variety of employment options to explore. Individual students determine which employers and opportunities may or may not align with their diverse talents, values and interests,” said Jennifer Neef, director of the Career Center.

Robin Kaler, associate chancellor for Public Affairs, said in an email the CIRI has never worked with ICE or the U.S. Border Patrol; however, the CIRI is funded by DHS and has two individuals on the external advisory board who are a part of DHS.

In the Facebook post made by the GEO’s Solidarity Committee, they shared a similar sentiment to the petition when referring to the Border Patrol as a “racist and abusive organization,” as well as the “human rights abuses” by ICE, the Border Patrol and the DHS.

GEO’s Solidarity Committee said its union stands in solidarity with all workers and many Mexican migrants are coming to the U.S. because of the country’s economic policies.

“ICE holds approximately 42,000 people in inhumane and cruel detention centers every day. People, including young children, have died in ICE custody, and between 2014 and 2018 there have been over 5,800 allegations of sexual abuse of children at the hands of ICE and border patrol,” the committee said.

Along with supporting this petition, the GEO declared themselves a sanctuary union last year, committed to support members regardless of race or citizenship status and announced they will not cooperate with ICE.

[email protected]