John Sexton wrote yesterday about the mayors of various “sanctuary cities” who are planning to defy the new president when it comes to cooperating with federal officials in deporting illegal immigrants. (At least until their funding gets cut off, anyway.) But if those plans fall through, there may be another opportunity for such criminals to evade the law. A group of students and faculty at Ivy League schools are petitioning to make their universities into similar sanctuaries. What could possibly go wrong? (Washington Post)
Thousands of students, professors, alumni and others at elite schools including Harvard, Yale and Brown have signed petitions asking universities to protect undocumented students after a presidential campaign that made illegal immigration a flash point.
President-elect Donald Trump made enforcement of immigration laws a touchstone, a position that was popular among many voters but leaves college officials deeply concerned about immigrant students who were admitted because of their academic achievement and potential. Those students now face fears about educational opportunity swept away and possible deportation.
When Enrique Ramirez applied to Harvard, he didn’t write that his family was supposed to return to Mexico after a work visa expired. When he was accepted, he didn’t know if there were any other students in his precarious position. After President Obama issued an executive order offering protection to students from deportation, the possibility of authorization to work and the chance to get driver’s licenses, he wrote about his situation and began to hear from other students at Harvard. And last week about 20 of them were together, in tears, calling their families, as the election results rolled in.
I left in the story of Enrique Ramirez, excerpted from that article, because he’s such a perfect example of the disconnect between Democrats and law enforcement in this country. By the author’s own admission, Ramirez entered the country with his family on a work visa, presumably held by one of his parents. And he failed to inform the school of that even though he was obviously aware that once the visa expired he would be in the country illegally. Granted, he may have gotten a waiver thanks to Barack Obama’s overly “generous” executive orders, but that doesn’t change the reality of his situation or others like him. If that program is dismantled then he not only has no protection from the law, but deserves none.
If any of these universities choose to follow the example of the “sanctuary cities” and openly break the law, we could have a serious moment of opportunity in front of us next year. Liberals and Democrats clearly have no problem with the White House using the threat of federal funding cuts when schools fail to comply with the law. This was made abundantly clear when they began threatening to cut off the flow of cash to schools which refused to allow boys into the girls’ shower. Despite the dubious nature of the White House’s new interpretation of Title IX, a precedent has been set. A quick check of the ledgers shows that Harvard received more than $600M in federal research money in 2014. I’ve no doubt that the rest of the schools on that list are similarly well financed. If any of them announce that they will shelter illegal immigrants, the new administration can simply shut off the cash. I’m sure we could find a better use for it elsewhere, such as increasing funding to ICE.
That’s one of the dangers inherent in playing with the levers of power the way the Obama White House has done. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and on January 21st the gander will be in the Oval Office.