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Universities Are Being Judged by How Well They Shelter Illegal Immigrants

College activist group says it's working to create 'a sanctuary campus that is safe' (so much for laws!)

If you thought universities were required to follow the law, well, think again.

Many academic institutions are not only boldly proclaiming a willingness to harbor illegal immigrants, but they’re also actually being scored by how well they do so.

The New School in New York City, well-known for its liberal tendencies, has devised a “Sanctuary Campus Scorecard,” which boasts about and encourages universities’ noncompliance with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requests.

One can only imagine how universities might better serve their students today if this group’s emphasis were instead on tracking educational initiatives that could help ensure a successful future.

The scoring system to rate universities on a scale from “A” (defies ICE requests) to C (complies with most ICE requests) was developed by the Sanctuary Working Group (SWG). This group is made up of “undocumented and international students, allied students, and faculty and staff” at the New School, as Campus Reform reported.

Factors for scoring the universities include: housing and resources (for illegal immigrants); financial aid (for illegal immigrants); and DACA (Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals) signatory.

The New School itself gets Cs on many of the scorecard’s categories, interestingly. Notable universities the scorecard is tracking include the University of California, Berkeley; UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles); Columbia University; and New York University.

SWG elaborates on its “sanctuary” demands on a web page titled “16 Points Towards a Sanctuary Campus.” It recommends that colleges and universities “increase institutional financial aid for noncitizen students, especially undocumented students,” provide “free or low-cost” legal support for illegal immigrants, and “develop alternatives to class attendance for students unable to attend in person due to their immigration status.”

As if that weren’t enough, there’s a suggestion “to deny requests to share such information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), or other government agencies unless mandated by court order, warrant, or subpoena; [and] to inform affected students of such requests.”

And then there’s this: Schools should “re-evaluate the protocol for referring student conduct to the NYPD [New York Police Department] and other law enforcement agencies, in light of minor criminal citations and misdemeanors becoming deportable offenses; [and] prioritize harm reduction alternatives such as counseling and mediation.”

“The university supports free expression by students and their right to form groups around common interests.”

SWG offers a downloadable version of its logo that can be printed and displayed by a school to indicate that it “support[s] SANCTUARY,” as Campus Reform notes.

The group describes its motivation for the scorecard on its website.

“SWG is working with faculty, staff and administration across the university to address deficits in creating a sanctuary campus that is safe and can provide adequate resources to members of its community affected by racist and anti-immigrant policies and everyday practices,” it notes.

Related: ICE Details NYC Crimes Resulting from ‘Sanctuary’ Releases

“SWG operates with an expanded understanding of sanctuary that recognizes the multiple ways in which state-based geopolitics intersects with other forms of power exercised through inequalities of race, gender, sexuality and class,” it adds.

To be frank, that’s fancy academic-speak for “pressures universities to defy immigration law.”

“The Sanctuary Working Group was founded by New School students,” a university spokesperson told Campus Reform, adding that “the university supports free expression by students and their right to form groups around common interests.”

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Kyle Becker is a content writer and producer with LifeZette.