A U.S. Representative seeks to cut federal education grants to college and university campuses that refuse to cooperate with information requests from immigration officials.
Representative Andy Harris (R-MD) introduced the Federal Immigration Law Compliance Act of 2016 (FILCA) in December with co-sponsors “from California to New York, to Florida,” the representative’s website states. The bill would require any entity, including institutions of higher learning, to comply with all lawful requests made by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The bill would require the withholding of all federal funding to any entity that refuses to comply with federal immigration enforcement requests.
“Congress has the responsibility to protect the rule of law in our country and provide for the safety of our citizens. We need to focus on protecting American citizens and those who are in this country legally, instead of providing shelter for those who have violated our immigration law and entered this country illegally. If any entity refuses to comply with federal immigration law, they should be denied federal money until they come into compliance,” Congressman Harris said in a written statement obtained by Breitbart Texas.
Harris said his bill would explicitly authorize “federal immigration authorities to make requests for information regarding illegal immigrants of any institution or entity receiving federal funds.”
In situations where state and local law enforcement entities have an illegal immigrant in custody, ICE Removal and Enforcement agencies are authorized to request said agency hold the person until federal authorities can assume custody.
In November, the congressman sent a letter to Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz to reconsider his comments urging college campuses and local police to ignore immigration officials lawful requests.
“County Executive Kamenetz penned a letter to the county’s higher education leaders, in which he urged schools to defy federal immigration law, and indicated that he instructed Baltimore County Police to do likewise,” Harris stated.
“In short, I am concerned that your letter demonstrates a lack of understanding that federal immigration law is the supreme law of the land, and that defiance of it represents a potential dereliction of duty for a sworn elected official or law enforcement officer,” wrote Dr. Harris. “As a steward of the Baltimore County budget, you are surely aware of efforts in Congress (that I fully support) to withhold all federal funding from ‘sanctuary’ jurisdictions. Tens of millions of dollars in federal funds flow to Baltimore County, and tens of millions of federal dollars and loan subsidies also flow to the benefit of those educational institutions to which you wrote. Yours is a risky gambit.”
A second Baltimore area county, Howard, has joined in attempting to become a sanctuary jurisdiction ahead of the swearing in of President-Elect Donald Trump later this month. The council seeks to bar law enforcement officials in the county from making inquiries into a prisoner’s immigration status, Breitbart Texas reported. The law enforcement agencies would also be barred from honoring immigration detainers.
The move by the Maryland congressman comes after a Texas representative, John Culberson (R-Houston) worked with the Department of Justice to enforce existing law requiring “100 percent” compliance with federal immigration requests sent to state and local law enforcement jurisdictions, Breitbart Texas reported in November.
“Sanctuary cities and other jurisdictions will now have to choose between protecting illegal aliens and receiving federal law enforcement grants,” Culberson told Breitbart Texas at the time. “The year-long effort culminated in November with the DOJ releasing the identification of ten sanctuary jurisdictions that had been determined to have policies not in compliance with immigration requests and therefore subject to the loss of federal grants in the coming year. The law also allows the DOJ to take back funding from prior years where the jurisdiction is certified to not be in compliance.”
“The law requires cooperation with immigration officials 100 percent of the time,” Culberson told Breitbart Texas in an exclusive interview. In February, Culberson provided Attorney General Lynch with a list of more than 300 sanctuary cities compiled by the Center for Immigration Studies.