Janet Napolitano, US Secretary of Homeland Security and the former governor of Arizona, guest lectured at UCLA on Monday and when she praised the controversial Secure Communities program more than a dozen students walked out.
About 20 demonstrators walked out of the lecture hall during the speech to protest immigration laws in Arizona and deportations of undocumented students and their families by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, organizers said. The agency is headed by the Department of Homeland Security, which runs under Napolitano's supervision. As they left the hall, some demonstrators chanted phrases such as "Education, not deportation."
A number of protesters also chanted the same phrase and "Right to Dream" from outside the building. Their echoes could be heard from inside the lecture hall.
Police officers stood by and monitored the situation, but no confrontations occurred.
"We were trying to make sure that Janet Napolitano addressed the issue of immigration that is so prevalent within the greater L.A. area and within the UCLA community," said Carlos Castellanos, the external policy chair of IDEAS at UCLA and a third-year political science and philosophy student.
Secure Communities allows federal authorities to peer into the databases of local and county jails to check the finger prints of every person who's booked. You can read more of Colorlines.com's coverage on the secure communities program by visiting the category page.