Withholding State Funding from Sanctuary Campuses
By State Rep. Jerry Knowles (R-Berks/Carbon/Schuylkill)
Jan. 10, 2017
As the new legislative session begins, I have introduced House Bill 14 to encourage colleges and universities in Pennsylvania to comply with existing federal immigration laws.

Major institutions of higher learning across the nation have announced the adoption of campus-wide sanctuary policies for illegal immigrants, including Swarthmore College and the University of Pennsylvania, both located in southeastern Pennsylvania. My bill would prohibit any sanctuary campuses from receiving state funding until such time as those policies are rescinded.

A sanctuary campus exists when the school’s administration adopts policies to refuse to allow federal authorities on campus without a warrant; directs campus law enforcement not to communicate, coordinate or cooperate with federal authorities regarding undocumented individuals on campus; and/or refuses to share information about undocumented students with federal agencies unless presented with some form of legal process.

This is a controversial issue, but the bill is simple. Institutions that comply with federal law will receive state funding as normal. Those who decide not to follow the law would not receive state funding. We cannot select which laws we want to follow and obey, and which laws we want to ignore and break.

It is my belief that the schools declaring themselves sanctuary campuses are blatantly disregarding federal law and thumbing their noses at the taxpayers of Pennsylvania. It is unconscionable to turn a blind eye to the issue of illegal immigration on campuses for the sake of making a political statement.

In early January, the bill has 30 co-sponsors, including colleagues on both sides of the aisle. It is my understanding that other states are considering similar legislation. I am hopeful this legislation will be considered when the House returns to session.