Seattle University Law School Suspends ICE from Externship Program

Seattle University Law School Suspends ICE from Externship Program

Seattle University Law School Suspends ICE from Externship Program

Seattle University Law School has suspended ICE from participating in the law school’s externship program. An extern position allows law students to work in a legal environment, get legal practice experience, and earn school credit. Normally students need to apply to each employer and compete for positions since these jobs also give students a chance to network for permanent positions after graduation.

The reason given for the suspension by Dean Annette Clark is full of bland language.

“As of today, I am suspending our externship placement with ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement) based on its current policies and practices,” she said in the email. “This action aligns with the fact that our law school is a signatory to the attached statement, which was issued by a consortium of Jesuit organizations in June 2018, and which condemns administration policies that have led to the unjust and inhumane treatment of asylum seekers and migrant families, practices that continue today and that directly affect members of our community.”

The dean made blanket statements about unjust and inhumane treatment, but ICE is not in violation of any federal or state law. Perhaps the dean knows something we don’t know? Maybe sufficient research was done in order for this legal mind to come to a supported conclusion? Or maybe not: The research conducted prior to suspension consisted of seeing how people felt about it.

“We felt it was necessary to discuss and reflect on what we were hearing regarding ICE policies and practices,” Dutton said in her statement. “The Dean consulted with students as well as her leadership team and the University Administration, seeking a range of viewpoints and opinions before ultimately deciding to suspend the externship.”

It should be embarrassing for a dean to say she made a decision based on “what we were hearing” as if that is a standard for a lawyer to model in making decisions. It can certainly be a standard to provoke a lawyer to advocate zealously for her client, but we should ask more of leadership in legal education. The dean needed to have a spine to educate students on how the justice system works. The first lesson is that in order for it to work, it has to have two sides.

Making this decision required no moral courage since those “consulted” were all supportive of the decision. The externship program director is even more untethered from rational discourse when she says students will be forced to make unethical decision if they work with ICE.

“Students raised concerns after ICE presence at our annual Externship Fair caused them to feel unsafe,” Jill Dutton, director of the externship program, said in an email statement. “We believe a real possibility exists that placing a student in an ICE externship may force them to act unethically or unlawfully.”

They are not acting unlawfully, because we know of no instances where ICE is not following the law – there is only disagreement with what the law is, and ICE has no part in making the law. Congress does. Further, if students consider the law unethical then by all means, don’t work there, but externships are voluntary. Removing this placement prohibits students from gaining valuable experience in a significant area of immigration law, which is sorely needed.

More importantly, and these school officials should be well aware, is that this move ascribes an institutional political and moral judgment to immigration enforcement. For students that might have wished to pursue this career option, they will now have to fight against their own institution’s public opinion in order to do so. That is an unfair position for a student to be placed in.

Law schools should not be in the business of shutting down legitimate avenues of practice because they disagree with one side. They shouldn’t be, but the reality is that schools are heavily involved in intentionally shaping the political views of their students. This violates an unwritten fiduciary duty to their students. Schools ought to foster discussion and debate from all angles without declaring any particular thought off-limits.

Schools and faculties should use the utmost care to educate their students on all areas of lawful practice without also placing a moral judgment on students’ desired practice areas. And of course they should teach their students to be ethical, but they should not put value judgments on particular areas of law.

This cheerful and platitude-filled virtual Christmas card from the dean belies these value judgments through her actions of exclusion.

While students can choose to go to schools with particular missions, it would still seem strange to hear of a school that focused solely on graduating prosecutors and neglected criminal defense. We need both practice areas populated in order to make the justice system work. By Seattle rejecting ICE as a legitimate practice opportunity, the law school is improperly skewing students against law enforcement. If taken far enough, any curriculum could start to look very one sided, and that does damage to the whole justice system.

This decision came about due to one student’s complaint. Alex Romero said having ICE at the externship fair on campus made students feel uncomfortable, even though ICE does not enter schools for enforcement.

In a statement, ICE’s principal legal adviser Tracy Short said the agency’s sensitive-locations policy “largely precludes” ICE enforcement on campuses “absent extraordinary circumstances.”

The ICE externship is one out of 800 placements that the school has available to students. It is also a placement that hasn’t been filled in years, so apparently students are making their own decisions about whether to apply. That ought to be enough.

It still seems unimaginable that people can use the idea of feeling “unsafe” to force a law enforcement organization off campus, but military recruiters have faced this same sort attitude for years. Here a student representing the attitude that having on ICE on campus is unsafe uses more progressive language.

“By bringing in organizations such as ICE…it just shoots anxiety and fear off the roof and dramatically impacts mental health of the student and it also affects the performance of the student,” Alvarado said. “Right now our immigrant communities—specifically the most vulnerable, like undocumented students. . .are at great risk and it’s time for the university to increase their efforts to support undocumented students.”

It’s understandable that people who are breaking the law might feel uneasy at the sight of law enforcement, but why should they have the right to block other students from pursuing jobs they are interested in, or legitimate employers from advertising their positions? They do not have the right to do it, but the cultural progressive shifts have condoned this deplatforming. Don’t expect it to stop on its own.

ICE has responded in a measured way, and they are right – it is a disservice to students.

An ICE official said the decision is a disservice to students and was based on inaccurate information about the ICE representatives’ presence on campus.

In a statement, ICE’s principal legal adviser Tracy Short said the agency’s sensitive-locations policy “largely precludes” ICE enforcement on campuses “absent extraordinary circumstances.”

“It’s disheartening that an institution dedicated to teaching the laws of this country and whose core values include justice and diversity would prevent its students from gaining valuable professional experience in the fields of immigration and customs law,” Short said, also pointing out that the university receives some federal funding.

It’s unfortunate that the adults in the room are unable to see past their own political agendas. They are hurting students, and in a larger fashion they are dumbing down the justice system into a feel-good process. Unfortunately, without a fair process to fall back on, the feel-good process only works so long as your side is in power. They will not like that process when turned against them.

Featured photo: Creative Commons.

Written by

3 Comments
  • scott says:

    Just like the issue with the Military on campuses, I cannot understand why the Fed doesn’t just law it down clearly… “You accept federal funds, you allow ANY and ALL federal agencies on campus! If you block any of them, you immediately loose ALL federal funding!”… this would have zero impact on private universities that do not accept such funds (Think Hillsdale… though they probably would allow such agencies ), it would only impact those schools that are happy to take govt money, (read taxpayer) while undermining the very foundations of that govt (we the people, sovereignty, etc..)
    Liberalism, like islam, is a disease of the mind!

  • GWB says:

    policies that have led to the unjust and inhumane treatment of asylum seekers and migrant families
    That right there is absolute and utter libel. “Unjust”. “Inhumane”. You keep using those words. I don’t think those words mean what you think they mean.
    but ICE is not in violation of any federal or state law
    Nor in contravention of any international standard or agreement. And certainly not in violation of any reasonable human standard or norm in history. (Well, except all the ones in history that simply would have swept through the “caravan” with cavalry and killed all the women and enslaved all women and children – paltry as those numbers were.)

    practices […] that directly affect members of our community
    So you admit to harboring illegal invaders of our country? Maybe ICE should do a sweep of that university…….

    The Dean consulted with students as well as her leadership team and the University Administration
    seeking a range of viewpoints and opinions
    Those two statements are mutually exclusive. Unless you mean “range” as in “whole numbers between 0 and 2, exclusive”.

    caused them to feel unsafe
    That’s just bullcarp. Everyone knows that really means “they are heretics to our religion and they should be cast out.” Unless, of course, you’re really allowing psychologically disturbed persons into your law program. In which case you should be investigated for exploiting the mentally ill.

    this move ascribes an institutional political and moral judgment to immigration enforcement
    EVERYTHING is political now. That’s how you enforce a cult. Make every aspect of life subject to it, and then enforce it zealously.

    “absent extraordinary circumstances”
    I think those circumstances are now extant on SUSL’s campus.

    our immigrant communities—specifically the most vulnerable, like undocumented students
    IOW, the criminals in your midst. And yet, you want to be a lawyer. The Gotti family must be hiring……….

    it’s time for the university to increase their efforts to support undocumented students
    So, they obviously don’t teach the concept of “aiding and abetting” at your law school. “Fiduciary duty”, indeed.

    whose core values include justice and diversity
    Bullcarp. Their “values” do NOT include justice. Just the radical progressive nihilist cult of “diversity”.

    the university receives some federal funding
    Bunch of hypocrites. We should help them eliminate their hypocrisy – remove all federal $s from the school.

    the adults in the room are unable to see past their own political agendas
    Oh, Jenny. This is the whole POINT of their education! Stop with the Hanlon’s Razor stuff. They mean to make these kids stupid, as long as they toe the cult line so the cult leaders can have power. This is a feature, not a bug.

    They will not like that process when turned against them.
    Oh, they don’t intend on ever letting that happen again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe
Become a Victory Girl!

Are you interested in writing for Victory Girls? If you’d like to blog about politics and current events from a conservative POV, send us a writing sample here.
Ava Gardner
gisonboat
rovin_readhead
Instagram