Go Ahead, Test Trump
Gabriel Oros, Fiscal Policy Contributor
On college campuses across the country, there is a movement to establish “sanctuary campuses” that protect students who are in the US illegally from being apprehended by police. Those students, who are called “dreamers,” in relation to President Obama’s proposed DREAM Act, are a concern for the left, which is why left leaning cities and campuses have proposed sanctuary campus legislation to prevent potential deportation. However, advocates for this policy have a poor understanding of what sanctuary campuses entail and the reasons why this legislation is problematic. Many of the supporters of sanctuary campuses believe this protects students here illegally from ever being deported, although the Law of the Land does not match up to their fanatical perception of the supposed protection sanctuaries campuses provide.
So far, both Congress and President Trump have declared they will cut funding to institutions and cities who claim to be a sanctuary. In fact, just this last week, Alabama’s House of Representatives passed a bill giving Attorney General Steve Marshall the power to withdraw federal funds from campuses within Alabama who claim to be sanctuary campuses.
It is important to note that all the statements made in regards to cutting funding thus far have only been threats, just as President Trump threatened to cut UC Berkeley’s federal funding after the infamous rioting in response to a right-leaning speaker. The question to ask is what is the likelihood of the government acting on those threats?
The Republican party is in a rare and unique position now that it controls all three branches of government. There have been very few times throughout history where a single party has dominated all three branches of the government. At this point, especially after such a divisive election, it is important for the Trump administration to have a clear and defined objective. For the current administration to accomplish their goals, they need to have a Republican-backed congress and senate to continue pursuing the executive orders proposed. With the first 100 days of any president’s term containing the most controversial decisions, congress needs all the controversy out of the way to focus on midterm elections later this year.
President Trump seems to be at a constant battle with college administrators and other supporters of sanctuary campuses. In Trump’s eyes, threatening the federal funding of a college campus should be enough of an incentive to discourage the employment of sanctuary campus policies. In response to Trump’s election, college campuses, like Brown University, protested demanding sanctuary for their illegal students.
Fortunately, there are examples of schools rejecting this ideology. Beck Taylor, president of Whitworth University, where I attend college, resisted pressure from dreamers, who hand delivered a petition harboring 1,000 signatures demanding Whitworth become a sanctuary.
Just like Stanford University and Notre Dame, Whitworth saw that this meaningless expression would do no good in the event US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) came knocking.
Already, many colleges recognize the importance of educating the young people within our country, regardless of legal status. In fact, it is difficult to argue that educating those students would be inherently bad. Many colleges, including Whitworth, have vowed to ensure that students without proper documentation receive an education, scholarships and even free legal advice. However, there is only so much that can be done to protect them from deportation.
Sanctuary Campuses have vowed not to work with ICE in any regard, including refusal to report illegal students’ criminal activity, unless they bring a warrant and act within their legal bounds. Recently, ICE has been deporting illegal immigrants, regardless of sanctuary campuses’ cooperation. ICE has been targeting illegals who have a criminal track record, claiming 75% of those deported are criminals and the rest have a record of crossing the border multiple times. If ICE approached a sanctuary campus with a warrant and followed the legal procedures they are supposed to, the title ‘sanctuary campus’ would carry no weight.
These dreamers are persistent, but in a cost-benefit lens, would the benefits of being a sanctuary outweigh the cost? Imagine if the Trump administration does follow through with their threats. Who would pick up the tab? Would it be the illegal immigrant students who already, on average, receive more money in scholarships and aid than students who are legal citizens? No, probably not. The sought-after benefit of the very small minority would come at the cost of the majority of students and taxpayers, who are already struggle paying the exuberant rates for tuition.
It seems that the colleges are jeopardizing their federal funding just to be politically correct.
Ultimately, these higher education institutions do not have the authority to protect illegal students from deportation. The Trump administration has followed through on its campaign promises, like banning high risk, Muslim majority countries and building the wall. Clearly, Trump is not someone to test, especially with his track record of following through with his campaign promises. The more this issue is raised by dreamers, the higher the likelihood of Trump’s administration defunding these unlawful campuses.