I got two or three memos in my inbox today, depending on how you count them.
Memos 1 and 2 came from the Office of Mission Integration and Campus Ministry, with the request that we encourage our students to participate in their upcoming events, expressing support for illegal immigrants currently detained and awaiting deportation:
Sr. Antonelle Chunka will be in the Cafeteria in Obal Hall on Monday, February 12 at 1 pm, to discuss the ministry to immigrants in the Elizabeth, NJ detention center. Sister was part of the John Paul II Lecture Panel on Undocumented Immigration we held here at Felician last Spring.
All are welcome.
THIS IS CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING IN ACTION!
February 14: Join Campus Ministry and First Friends of New Jersey as we hold vigil outside the Elizabeth Detention Center in solidarity for those being detained due to their immigration status.
We will gather at the Rutherford Campus, first floor of Education Commons building at 4:45 pm and leave campus by 5:00 pm. Vigil begins outside the Elizabeth Detention Center at 6:00 pm.
Memo 3 came from the Dean of Students, with the request that we encourage our students to participate in an upcoming webinar on the many career paths available to officers in federal law enforcement, notably careers involving the detention and deportation of illegal immigrants:
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Women in Law Enforcement Webinar
Hosted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
When: Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Time: 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. EST
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) invites you to participate in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Women in Law Enforcement Webinar from 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 28.
In partnership with the DHS Office of Academic Engagement, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will host a webinar for college and university student and recent graduate women interested in pursuing a law enforcement career at ICE. This webinar will feature a panel of female special agents and deportation officers who will share their experiences in law enforcement and career paths at ICE. In addition, human resource officials will explain the federal application process and highlight ICE career pathways for students and recent graduates.
This event is free for all participants. To register for the event, please make sure to visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ICEWomeninLEWebinar. As space is limited, it is recommended you register soon. More information regarding this webinar opportunity will continue to be shared with stakeholders and potential participants. Email AcademicEngagement@hq.dhs.gov should you have any questions regarding participation in the event.
On receiving this email, someone sent me a link to Cardinal Tobin’s recent statement on immigration reform. That, in turn, reminded me of the University President’s recent statement on DACA. Then I opened Facebook and discovered that my friend Rabbi Elliott Tepperman had been arrested (along with several colleagues) at a protest on DACA the other day.
Whew. A lot to process, but there’s no real contradiction here, right? For one thing, all three events are taking place on different days. And surely there’s a division of labor to be had between different types of activity and commitment: obviously, some of our students can protest detention and deportation, while others can engage in it. And I suppose a university need not take a single institutional stand on the morality of federal law enforcement or deportation proceedings: it can equally support and promote the activities of those who protest them, and those who seek careers engaging in them.
Actually, as my title intimates, Walt Whitman put things nicely in “Song of Myself“:
What blurt is this about virtue and vice?
Evil propels me, and reform of evil propels me, I stand indifferent,
My gait is no fault-finder’s or rejecter’s gait,
I moisten the roots of all that has grown.
That, presumably, is not just a characteristically Whitmanesque effusion, but a poetic description of the proper “uses of the university.” Right?
I’m curious what readers think about a University Pre-Law Advisor’s professional responsibility to students seeking careers as federal deportation officers when the Advisor has decidedly mixed feelings on the legitimacy of the endeavor.
Just another day at the office. Back to work!
Some photos from the vigil at ICE’s “Elizabeth Contract Detention Facility,” and St Joseph’s Social Service Center, Elizabeth, New Jersey. February 14, 2018 with First Friends of NJ and NY, and Felician University Campus Ministry.