How many illegal immigrants attend Cornell University, anyway? After an independent contractor working for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management signed in at the visitor booth Tuesday, word quickly spread that an agent from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was on campus.

OPM, ICE … no wonder the school community was on high alert.

After what some are describing as “hours of fear,” President Martha E. Pollack eventually sent a campus-wide email explaining that the government contractor was visiting the Ithaca campus “to conduct a routine background check related to an individual’s application for a job with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.”

Campus Reform reports that at least two organizations, the Cornell DREAM Team and La Association Latina, issued warnings to fellow students, as did at least one professor.

So, it seems all of the panic on campus was sparked by someone applying for a job. That must not be as common as it was back when we were at college.

Why was everyone on campus so on edge? ICE agents had made their presence in the area known a week beforehand:

ICE might be enforcing the law, but Pollack’s email, citing diversity as one of the school’s greatest strengths, made it clear that the university would work “to continually support and defend the most vulnerable among us.”

What do they teach there anyway? Hmm … what’s “America Confronts the World” about? America’s great diversity!

Instructor: Peter J. Katzenstein
Fall 2017
Donald Trump and Barak Obama give us two visions of America and of the world: xenophobic nationalism and pragmatic cosmopolitanism. America and the world are thus constituted by great diversity.

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