By Miriam Raftery
According to a press statement from Hunter’s office, the bill would withhold federal funding including Title IV (Pell Grants, federal backed loans and more) to any educational institution that “undermines federal immigration law and awards in-state tuition and other public benefits to students who are here illegally.”
Over 200 college and university campuses have active petitions to school administrations deeming their institutions to be “sanctuary campuses” Hunter says, citing lack of cooperation with border enforcement agencies and providing benefits for undocumented students as activities he hopes to end.
Rep. Hunter acknowledges that Title IV funding is “essential for nearly every academic institution” but insists, “If colleges and universities choose to deem themselves “Sanctuary Campuses,” then I believe Congress has every right to withhold federal funding.”
An estimated 65,000 undocumented students each year graduate high schools in the U.S. each year, GovTrackInsider reports, including many who were brought here as infants or children and earned protections during the Obama administration under the DACA program. Many go on to obtain college degrees and become productive members contributing to the economy.
The Trump administration has actively sought to roll back Obama-era protections and deport undocumented students. Opponents of such policies argue that young people should not be blamed for actions of their parents.
“With DACA, our students and alumni have been able to pursue opportunities in business, education, high tech, and the non-profit sector; they have gone to medical school, law school, and graduate schools in numerous disciplines,” stated a letter signed by hundreds of American university presidents. They are actively contributing to their local communities and economies.”
The chancellors of both the UC and CSU systems in California signed that letter, along with presidents of numerous individual UC and CSU schools and other institutions.
“To our country’s leaders we say that DACA should be upheld, continued, and expanded,” the letter continued. “This is both a moral imperative and a national necessity. America needs talent — and these students, who have been raised and educated in the United States, are already part of our national community.”
Hunter’s bill has little or no chance of passage, since Democrats won 40 seats in the November election to take back a solid majority in the House of Representatives and have championed protections for young immigrants in the party’s call for comprehensive immigration reforms.