Customs and Border Patrol uninvited from job fair by San Jose City College | News Coverage from USA

Customs and Border Patrol uninvited from job fair by San Jose City College

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency was uninvited to a job fair at a California college on Tuesday over fears that immigration officials’ presence could “cause undue distress and concern” among some community members.

“As many of you may have already heard, a job fair scheduled to take place on campus on April 30th had originally included US Customs and Border Protection as one of the organizations recruiting prospective employees,” acting San Jose City College President Elizabeth Pratt told students in an email on Monday. “This understandably caused concern among some in our campus community and the wider community that we serve.” 

Pratt decided it was “best for our campus community” to not have CBP at the fair.

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“We serve a very diverse student population, a large percentage of whom have immigrated to the US from other nations and an even larger percentage of our students have family members who are immigrants,” Pratt explained to the students. “For many in this population, the presence of US Customs and Border Protection representatives on campus – regardless of their intentions or reasons for being there – can cause undue distress and concern. This is something we strive to prevent whenever possible for this already vulnerable population.” 

A San Jose City College spokesman told USA TODAY that the decision was “not in response to pressure from student groups.” In her email, Pratt encouraged students interested in pursuing a career with CBP to contact the agency on their own. 

A flier circulated on social media by a group called Dump Trump San Jose had called for a protest to be held on Tuesday against CBP’s involvement in the job fair. 

Citing “escalating violence, family separations, incarceration, and deportations leveled against migrants and immigrant communities by Border Patrol and ICE,” the flier called for students and area residents to rally in order to “send a clear message” that “the agents of upholding racist borders are not welcome here.” 

Another online flier included phone numbers for Pratt and job fair organizers. It included a script for callers to demand that CBP be banned from the job fair and “all future on-campus events.” 

“The US Border Patrol is a fundamentally racist and anti-immigrant institution,” the script reads. Without providing evidence, the text blames the agency for “the abuse of hundreds of thousands of migrants annually, as well as the deaths of hundreds,” and accuses it of “collaborating with white supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan.” 

“WE WON!” the Dump Trump San Jose group declared in response to the college’s decision to revoke CBP’s invitation. It said it was “only a tiny step in the much greater struggle that must be carried out to support migrants and immigrant communities in the face of emboldened racism, xenophobia, white supremacy, and fascism in the US.” 

CBP said in a statement that the agency respected the college’s decision but stressed that its “main objective was to inform job-seekers about the rewarding career opportunities CBP has to offer, not to conduct any law enforcement activities.”

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In one of his first acts after taking office, President Donald Trump signed an executive order calling for the hiring of 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents. But the agency has struggled to recruit new hires and to retain the employees that it has. The hiring problem comes as the agency is facing a major surge in asylum seekers arriving at the southern border. 

In February, CBP began to “fast track” new hires and last week it announced new incentives aimed at retaining the agents that are in place. 

“CBP has aggressively implemented an innovative and multifaceted recruitment and retention strategy,” John P. Sanders, CBP’s chief operating officer said in a statement announcing the new incentives. 

“We are facing a humanitarian and border security crisis on the Southwest border, and those who serve on the frontline are vital to that effort.” 

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