The “sanctuary campus” movement is popular with students, professors and some college leaders.
Only one problem: It won’t help the vast majority of students who are in the country illegally.
RealClearPolitics reports that most of the campuses that have adopted the “sanctuary” designation are private, meaning they don’t face the threat of losing state funding.
For the country’s undocumented students – over 90 percent of whom attend public institutions – these new havens would do little good.
Alabama and Texas lawmakers have introduced bills to strip funding from public institutions that take the sanctuary step, and a Georgia bill would even target private schools – leading Emory University to drop its consideration of becoming a sanctuary:
Emory President Claire Sterk’s statement regarding the decision read, in part: “Declaring ourselves a sanctuary campus, which has potent symbolism, could have the collateral effect of reducing funding for teaching, education and research, directly harming our students, patients and the beneficiaries of our research.”
The American Council on Education says even federal funding could be at risk if Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents come to campus to track down illegals:
Public universities cannot reasonably bar law enforcement from their grounds. The same may hold true for private institutions, [General Counsel Peter] McDonough noted, explaining that the “time, place and manner” restrictions under the First Amendment stipulate that the public is invited to privately owned spaces. …
Simply put, McDonough continued, “many campus spaces are open to the public. A private university like Georgetown couldn’t simultaneously have public spaces, and then not allow ICE on them.”
Wesleyan University President Michael Roth, who has embraced the legally meaningless “sanctuary” label, says the messaging is more important than delivering on the school’s promise that it will shield illegals:
“What is important is that mass deportation has no legal standing. We must say mass deportation is illegal again, and again, and again. It does not involve the due process of law and in fact would depend on extra and likely illegal actions by law enforcement.”
Roth asserted that by declaring sanctuary status, colleges are in fact asking that the federal government be held accountable to rules already in place, as many of the protections listed in sanctuary declarations are currently covered under student privacy laws.
He says Wesleyan would take the government to court if it tried to penalize the school for refusing to comply with immigration agents.