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Should Georgia punish colleges that protect undocumented students?

Does Georgia need a law to ensure none of its private colleges becomes a sanctuary campus for undocumented students?

The Legislature thinks so and passed a bill that would punish campuses that fail to turn over information about students believed to be in the United States illegally. House Bill 37 would restrict funds for colleges that violate state and federal law by adopting sanctuary polices.

The bill defines a sanctuary policy as “any regulation, rule, policy, or practice adopted or administered by a private postsecondary institution which prohibits or restricts officials or employees of such private postsecondary institution from communicating or cooperating with federal officials or law enforcement officers with regard to reporting status information while such official or employee is acting within the scope of his or her official duties at such private postsecondary institution.”

The bill is awaiting the governor’s signature to make it a law.

Not everyone wants him to sign HB 37, which prohibits “any rule” that restricts employees or officials from providing information “relevant to the identity or location of an individual who is reasonably believed to be … illegally residing in the United States” to federal law enforcement or authorities.

Are sanctuary cities legal in Georgia?

“The legislation would not only make undocumented students uniquely vulnerable to crime and abuse, but it would put campus communities at greater risk. Undocumented students, as well as their family members and friends who have immigration status, would refrain from having any contact with campus authorities, including reporting crime or coming forward as a witness to a crime. When immigrant communities start to fear local authorities, rather than to trust them, society in general becomes less safe,” says Shelley Rose, the interim regional director for the Anti-Defamation League, Southeast Region.

To read more about the bill and Rose’s concerns, go to the AJC Get Schooled blog.

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