"Sanctuary campuses" defy Trump, but at a risk

Yet the majority of the self-designated campuses have one thing in common: They are private schools. For the country’s undocumented students – over 90 percent of whom attend public institutions – these new havens would do little good.

During a time when campuses have become the epicenter of anti-Trump protests, why haven’t public schools followed the lead of their private counterparts? The answer largely comes down to funding. While the sanctuary designation always comes with financial risks, those risks are greater if a college receives most of its funding through a state government.

Eunice Cho, a staff attorney with the Immigrant Justice Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, says that because state universities are effectively run by governor-appointed boards of regents, there is a “direct political link” between those schools and state legislatures, which are more sensitive to political pressures. Private schools’ reliance on federal funding — removal of which would be difficult under current law — “gives them more autonomy and lets them provide additional safety procedures for their students.”