Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb (R) has signed bill into law that bans colleges and universities from transforming themselves into so-called sanctuary campuses by pledging to interfere with federal immigration authorities, a move that has been met with scorn by largely left-wing institutions.
According to the new law, no higher education institution may officially incorporate any system that would compel administrators to refuse cooperation with federal agents. Those colleges and universities found in violation of the law would become vulnerable to a civil suit by the state of Indiana that could result in a court overturning the school’s pledge.
As of 2011, Indiana was already subject to a statewide law that prohibited cities and towns from fashioning themselves as sanctuary jurisdictions, where local law enforcement agents do not comply with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers on suspected illegal immigrants. The law now extends that ban to the state’s campuses, some of which were hopping on a nationwide bandwagon to transform themselves into illegal immigrant safe havens.
While some prominent institutions have refused to cave in to student demands for sanctuary campus designations, noting that there is no legal framework empowering such a designation to actually interfere with federal law, others have acquiesced and vowed to not share students’ citizenship status unless forced to by law.
Advocates of the new law believe that universities should not be given special authority to pick and choose which federal laws they follow, while immigrant rights activists have pragmatically pointed out that sanctuary campus designations may only serve to attract the attention of federal immigration authorities.