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No basis in law': Two Ivy League school presidents take a stand against 'sanctuary campuses

A couple walks past Nassau Hall on the Princeton Unversity campus. (AP Photo/Daniel Hulshizer, File)

The heads of two Ivy League universities are refusing calls to label their schools "sanctuary campuses," saying the concept has "no basis in law."

Princeton University President Chris Eisgruber said in a statement that since the election of immigration hardliner Donald Trump, he's received calls from various students and faculty members asking him to declare Princeton a "sanctuary campus," a term applied to colleges and universities that do not comply with federal immigration law in favor of providing a safe haven for illegal immigrants.

Eisgruber said immigration attorneys told university officials that the concept of "sanctuary campuses" has "no basis in law" and that colleges don't have the authority to simply exempt their institutions from doing their part in enforcing the law, Campus Reform reported.

Brown University President Christina Paxson issued a similar statement, saying, “Based on consultation with legal counsel, we have come to understand that private universities and colleges do not have such protection to offer legal sanctuary from members of law enforcement or Immigration and Customs Enforcement."

Paxson added that it would be "irresponsible" to guarantee protection to certain students if the school isn't sure it can deliver on the promise.

Other schools have taken a much different stance in the wake of Trump's election. Columbia University, for example, was the first school to declare sanctuary campus status after saying it would not allow federal immigration officials on its campus and would refuse to share information related to the immigration status of students unless required to do so by a subpoena.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) last week stated his intention to "cut funding" from sanctuary campuses in his state.

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