One week after Donald Trump was elected president, students at colleges and universities nationwide staged walkouts in protest of Trump's hardline immigration stances. In Indiana, specifically, students at seven campuses statewide took part. The students were calling on the administrations at their respective universities to declare themselves "sanctuary campuses," meaning college officials would not report students who were in the U.S. illegally to federal immigration authorities, WXIN-TV reported.
Federal law currently prohibits immigration officials from going onto college campuses unless there are extraordinary circumstances.
Indiana Republican state Sen. Michael Young said he watched the November protests on television, which gave him the idea to propose new legislation that would make "sanctuary campuses" illegal. There are currently no colleges or universities in Indiana that identify as "sanctuary campuses."
Indiana lawmakers passed legislation in 2011 banning cities from providing sanctuary for illegal immigrants, WISH-TV reported.
"A governmental body and a postsecondary educational institution may not enact or implement an ordinance, a resolution, a rule, or a policy that prohibits or in any way restricts another governmental body, including a law enforcement officer, a state or local official, or a state or local government employee, from taking the following actions with regard to information of the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of an individual," Young's new bill, which was introduced Jan. 10, reads.
The legislation goes on to list several ways in which colleges would have to cooperate with immigration authorities. The methods included "sending [sic] or receiving information from the United States Department of Homeland Security, maintaining information and exchanging information with another federal, state, or local government entity."
The Indianapolis Star noted the bill would not apply to the estimated 1.8 million "DREAMers" who were brought to the U.S. as children and allowed to temporarily stay under an executive order issued by former President Barack Obama in 2012.
The Indiana state Senate's Corrections and Criminal Law Committee approved the bill Tuesday in a 6-2 party-line vote. Young's bill advanced the same day as new Trump administration memos revealed federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were being instructed to deport "any alien who is subject to removal under any provision of the (Immigration and Nationality Act)," USA Today reported. The order could potentially reach all of the roughly 11 million illegal immigrants who are currently in the U.S.
Hector Morales, who helped organize the college campus protests in November, voiced opposition to Young's bill late last month, telling WISH-TV, “I think [it’s] sad that this bill was created instead of focusing on what Hoosiers believe to be more important like infrastructure, or how about getting better health care for our veterans ... or improving education for our students, giving more incentives to our teachers."
And Morales isn't the one opposed to the legislation.
"This bill would only intensify the fear the Indiana community is already experiencing," Karina Garduno, vice president of the Indiana Latino Higher Education Council Board, told the Indianapolis Star. "The fear that inundates their everyday lives is already an interruption in their education, which affects not only the individual directly but also those around them."
"We have seen the damage that anti-immigration legislation has done to our students already," Garduno added.
Indiana isn't the only state that has taken recent action to better enforce immigration laws on college campuses.
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in December vowed to cut funding to sanctuary colleges and universities in his state just three days after he made the same promise about sanctuary cities in Texas.