EXCLUSIVE: GOP Congressmen Support Cutting Off Federal Funds For ‘Sanctuary Campuses’

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Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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Republican Texas Reps. Louie Gohmert and Brian Babin told The Daily Caller Monday they would support legislation to cut off federal funds from universities and colleges which have a stated policy of protecting illegal immigrants.

In the wake of President-elect Donald Trump’s election, campuses around the country have announced they will not cooperate with the federal government to deport illegal immigrants. This includes refusing to comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) immigration detainers, not allowing ICE officers on campus without a warrant, and not releasing the immigration status of students without a court order.

“By declaring themselves Sanctuary Campuses, Universities are putting their other students, and the public at large, in jeopardy and at risk and they know it. If these universities feel so strongly about the issue, they should publicly state they are willing to assume the risk and liability of their actions, and the actions of anyone harbored under this policy, in case someone is harmed,” Rep. Gohmert said in a statement provided to TheDC.

He added: “Congress should work on a law creating a federal civil cause of action against institutions of higher education or cities who knowingly create a sanctuary for people illegally here who harm others. These actions are contributing to the demise of a nation that honors the rule of law.”

Texas Rep. Babin’s office said that they would also support this sort of legislation. There has yet to be a bill introduced in Congress regarding sanctuary campuses, and most of this work has been done at the state level. Texas Gov. Greg Abbot announced last week he will cut funding for any sanctuary campus and a Georgia state lawmaker plans to introduce a bill to cut funding for sanctuary campuses in his state.

Sanctuary cities, of which there are over 350, have already received this treatment. The Department of Justice announced in July that jurisdictions that do not comply with immigration detainers will not receive certain grants and Trump has said he will cut off federal funding for sanctuary cities in his first 100 days in office. Trump’s communications director Jason Miller told TheDC he is unclear of Trump’s stance on sanctuary campuses, but the president-elect maintains his stance that immigration laws have to be enforced.

Presidents of schools that have announced policies protecting illegal immigrants have so far been publicly unafraid of losing tens of millions of federal funds.

Wesleyan University President Michael Roth said on Fox News two weeks ago that his school receives over $20 million in federal grants. He said, “I certainly hope it doesn’t come to losing federal funding.” Wesleyan is among several small liberal arts colleges that have announced they will provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants. There are billions at stake for other larger institutions such as the University of California system.

Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California and former Secretary of Homeland Security, announced Wednesday that that all ten UC campuses will work to protect illegal immigrants from deportation. A policy included in this announcement is: “No UC campus police department will undertake joint efforts with local, state or federal law enforcement agencies to investigate, detain or arrest individuals for violation of federal immigration law.”

Napolitano said on CNN Monday she is not worried about a fight with the federal government. If Reps. Gohmert and Babin get their way, however, UC students will suffer. The University of California system received an estimated $8 billion in federal funding for the 2013-2014 school year.