We recently discussed how some Ivy League college students and faculty members were petitioning to turn their schools into Sanctuary Universities where illegal immigrants could be hidden from the prying eyes of ICE and possible deportation. If I were living on some hypothetical planet in a parallel dimension where the world actually made sense that would seem a laughable story suitable only for The Onion. But hey… we’re all living in 2016 now, baby. The schools have taken heed and according to Time Magazine, plans are being put in place to do just that. (At least in the California state university system.) But they’ll need some sort of legal defense to mount when they blatantly attempt to violate federal laws.
Enter María Blanco, executive director of the Undocumented Student Legal Services Center. She’s the lady with a plan. (Wait a minute… there’s an Undocumented Student Legal Services Center? Apparently so. Anyway… moving on.)
María Blanco, executive director of the Undocumented Student Legal Services Center, said student petitions have focused on three common requests: that universities not share students’ personal information—including address and immigration status—with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) without a subpoena, that they prevent law enforcement agencies from conducting raids on campus without a warrant, and that campus police officers decline to take on the responsibility of enforcing immigration law.
Blanco said privacy laws and Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure should enable schools to accommodate all three requests, which would help ensure that undocumented students can at least complete their degrees. “If somebody got sued for what we just talked about—not sharing records which are already protected under existing law and not allowing indiscriminate raids on a campus, or because police refused to enforce immigration law—I’m positive they would not win their case,” she told TIME, suggesting courts would rule in favor of universities.
Now, I’m not a lawyer and I don’t even play one on TV, but something sounds a bit off the mark here. I’m not sure if the Founders or our legislators intended either the Fourth Amendment or privacy laws to be used as tools to deliberately conspire to violate federal law. And yet that seems to be precisely what’s being proposed here. Also, you can make all the protests you like, but I can’t imagine the campus police being able to bar the door to ICE if they come looking for suspected illegal aliens.
But perhaps even more to the point, there are a couple of other laws you should be keeping in mind out there at the UC brain trust. Since we’ve discussed it here before, perhaps you’re familiar with 8 U.S. Code § 1324 – Bringing in and harboring certain aliens. In case you need a refresher course, sections (1)(A)(ii) and (iii) of that statute have some rather specific things to say about people who:
(ii) knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, transports, or moves or attempts to transport or move such alien within the United States by means of transportation or otherwise, in furtherance of such violation of law;
(iii) knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals, harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building or any means of transportation;
What it specifically has to say about such folks is that they may be fined under title 18, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.
You may think you’re playing a clever game by trying to shield information from ICE for the purpose of stopping them from enforcing the law, but not only will they be able to check for violations by illegal aliens, they may want the school administration to come have a chat with a judge as well. There’s a new sheriff coming to town boys, and you might want to rethink your plans before this little project of yours becomes far less amusing than it seems now.