Rutgers President Robert Barchi Advocates for Illegal Immigrants

By Aviv Khavich

Robert Barchi, Rutgers University President

Robert Barchi, Rutgers University President

Rutgers University President Robert Barchi has issued a statement in support of illegal alien students. The email, titled "One Final Opportunity to Advocate for Dreamers", was sent out Monday afternoon to all students.

The six-year president of the university stated that "time is running out on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program", and to "join [him] one more time, for one last push to save DACA." This was followed by a link to a pre-written letter to send to members of Congress as well as President Donald Trump. 

Barchi maintains that participation in the link is optional, but as of yet has not provided an equal platform for opposing viewpoints on the issue. This is despite student requests to advocate for the RAISE Act, which would have reduced immigration to the United States.  

This is the tenth time that university officials have taken a pro-illegal alien stance in official emails sent out to all students. On December 8th, 2016, Barchi sent out an email titled "Clarifying Rutgers' Position on Protecting Student Rights" in which he detailed his support for DACA and illegal alien students. Since then, variations of similar emails from either Barchi or Rutgers Chancellor Debashish Dutta have gone out to students, often including direct links for advocacy. 

Barchi and Dutta have also sent out emails taking stances on tax legislation, Title IX, the 2017 Charlottesville rally, free speech on campus, as well as other issues, many of them having to do with specific legislation. 

Rutgers University is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and is thus subject to laws restricting lobbying. According to the IRS, "In general, no organization may qualify for section 501(c)(3) status if a substantial part of its activities is attempting to influence organization will be regarded as attempting to influence legislation if it contacts, or urges the public to contact, members or employees of a legislative body for the purpose of proposing, supporting, or opposing legislation, or if the organization advocates the adoption or rejection of legislation."

The full text of the email may be found below.

Members of the Rutgers Community:

As I think you already know, time is running out on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The program, which has provided protections for an estimated 800,000 undocumented people who were brought to this country as young children, is slated to end in March unless Congress takes action to make permanent those protections.

Rutgers has been a national leader in advocating for preservation of the DACA protections. Over the course of the past year, our community has generated more than 33,000 letters to members of Congress urging the House of Representatives and the Senate to adopt bipartisan legislation to solve the DACA dilemma. Other universities have joined in our efforts to seek a truly bipartisan solution.

Our advocacy, I believe, has made a difference in keeping this issue before Congress. The House and the Senate will be considering DACA over the coming weeks, and Democrats and Republicans are putting aside their differences and seem genuinely poised to take action.

We can make sure that happens…but only if we act quickly. If you share my concern about making permanent these protections, I’d like to ask you to join me one more time, for one last push to save DACA.

Taking action to show your support is easy—it will take no more than a minute or two of your time. Simply follow this link to the Rutgers Advocacy webpage. Once there, you will be asked to provide your name and address; the advocacy program will generate a letter of support that will be emailed to your US Senators and Representative, as well as to President Trump. The program automatically identifies your appropriate elected representatives from your home address. The letter is pre-written, so you may review it before you hit “send.”

Let me emphasize that participation in this effort is entirely optional. While I am deeply troubled by the possibility that the DACA program could end and I personally support extending current DACA protections, I understand that some members of the Rutgers community may not share my point of view, and, if you have an opposing view, you can use this link to contact your federal representatives. I would never presume to tell you what to do with respect to legislative advocacy. We are offering this option to you because many people in our community have participated in activities to advocate for undocumented students. This call to action provides a way, if you so choose, to express support for legislation that would achieve the public policy for which so many at Rutgers have been advocating.
— Robert Barchi