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CSULB police chief issues first ICE directive

Immigration and Customs Enforcement aren’t likely to come back to Cal State Long Beach after a new directive issued Wednesday by CSULB Chief of Police Fernando Solorzano.

The University Police Department will not cooperate with ICE by holding undocumented foreign nationals whether or not that person has an immigration hold.

Interim General Order 55, which went into effect immediately, came after Long Beach resident José Alvarez, 53, was deported when UPD Officer Ivan Sanchez detained him at the CSULB police substation and turned him over to ICE Feb. 21.

“It’s regrettable to me that our immigration laws remain confusing in spite of the hardship such confusion causes both undocumented persons and the peace officers who are charged with upholding such laws,” Solorzano said of the incident.

Sanchez pulled Alvarez over for a broken headlamp, but arrested him because there was an ICE hold in the database — the result of a 21-year-old drug conviction for which Alvarez served time and was subsequently deported.

José Alvarez cries when asked how he is feeling, next to his wife, Infa, who came to visit him in Tijuana, Mexico, April 17. José was deported after being held by a Cal State Long Beach police officer Feb. 21.
Karen Sawyer | Daily 49er
José Alvarez cries when asked how he is feeling, next to his wife, Infa, who came to visit him in Tijuana, Mexico, April 17. José was deported after being held by a Cal State Long Beach police officer Feb. 21.

A father of six, Alvarez is the only member of his family who is neither a U.S. citizen nor a green card holder.

Prior to Alvarez’ deportation, there was no policy regarding what enforcement actions ought to be taken by UPD officers regarding undocumented people, according to Solorzano. The directive is pending a California State University system–wide policy on how CSU officers should deal with ICE.

The university is in the process of sharing this interim order with students in an effort to expand awareness about this new policy, especially since commencement ceremonies are just a few weeks away, according to CSULB spokesperson Terri Carbaugh in an email.

At a student-led forum March 24, several students expressed concern about inviting undocumented family members to graduation when they discovered that an undocumented person was held on campus for ICE to pick up.

“Most of these students are first generation students,” Associated Students, Inc. President José Salazar said at the forum. “Most of their parents are migrants … Do you think they’re going to feel safe bringing their own family members to commencement to Cal State Long Beach, a place where we deport our community members?”

There are also over 900 undocumented students at CSULB.

The order states:

  1. Officers shall not stop or detain persons solely for determining immigration status.
  2. Officers shall not hold detainees pursuant to ICE detainers or wants at the University Police Station unless the individual is being detained for a separate violation of California State law.
  3. Officers shall not arrest detainees for federal warrants issued by ICE.
  4. Officers shall not arrest foreign nationals solely for alleged undocumented entry into the U.S.

Additionally, campus police will only arrest a foreign national if he or she has violated a state law, local ordinance, or a non-immigration-related federal statute, regulation or law for which a judge has issued a warrant.

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