Universities all over the country are declaring themselves “sanctuary” campuses. Modeling the idea of sanctuary cities, sanctuary campuses are adopting policies to hide students who are in the country illegally.
In the U.S., there are about 225,000 college students that are illegal immigrants. That is 225,000 legal citizens who are unable to receive a college education. By taking enrollment spots, scholarships, and grant money away from legal students, opportunities for United States citizens are being unjustly taken away.
The “sanctuary campus” trend started in November 2016 after protests from universities like Stanford, Rutgers, and St. Mary’s took place, sparking walk-outs and sit-ins on campuses around the country. One week after the first protests, the American Association of University Professors declared public support of the sanctuary campus movement, pressing colleges to adopt these policies.
Columbia University, Wesleyan University, Portland State University, Oregon State University, Reed College, and California State University (all 23 campuses) have already adopted the “sanctuary” title and are currently doing whatever they can to deter the ICE from investigating their students’ immigration status. Their efforts include: denying ICE officers from entering campuses without a warrant, denying the ICE information on students’ immigration status (some have even begun to stop collecting the immigration information entirely), and campus police officers refusing to enforce immigration law.
“Sanctuary” is just a trendy term for refusing to follow laws on immigration. Some universities have realized that they cannot afford to deliberately disobey federal laws in this way. Brown University President Christina Hull Paxson and Provost Richard Locke made the statement, “While we wish we could offer absolute protection to members of our community who are threatened by possible changes in policy, it would be irresponsible to promise protections that we cannot legally deliver.”
The legality has been the issue lawmakers have been looking closely at as Georgia senators move forward with a bill that plans to take funds from universities adopting the “sanctuary” title. The bill has already been passed by the house and approved by a Senate committee. As more Republicans back the bill, it is sure to have a full Senate vote soon.
It is important for something to be done about this unjust trend. Illegal immigrants are taking education opportunities away from legal U.S. citizens. Now with bills threatening to defund these “sanctuary” campuses, universities should be focused on the education of students here legally, not deliberately putting them at risk.