In Face Of Funding Ban, Emory Students Call For Sanctuary Policies | WABE 90.1 FM

In Face Of Funding Ban, Emory Students Call For Sanctuary Policies

Mar 30, 2017

State lawmakers passed a bill Tuesday that would strip state funding from private colleges in Georgia that adopt "sanctuary policies," meaning the schools limit cooperation with immigration officials. 

So far, no colleges have said they won't cooperate. 

At Emory, students have protested, trying to get the university to declare itself a sanctuary campus.

Marla Rojas, a senior at Emory, moved from Venezuela to Miami when she was 12.She's a legal permanent resident, but said she has friends who are in the country without documentation.  

"The fact that at least we have support from the university, that I appreciate,” Rojas said. “But I do think that, you know, that's not enough."

Several students on Wednesday echoed Rojas. They said Emory needs to declare itself a sanctuary campus, even if it means losing state funds. 

Critics of the measure, like State Sen. Nan Orrock, said it will turn immigrants away from Georgia.

“I see this bill as one of a series of message bills, that we don’t look kindly on those that have come here from other nations,” Orrock said.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Earl Ehrhart, said colleges that don’t cooperate with federal immigration officials are breaking the law.  

Emory senior Angela Zeck said the University could do more.

“I think Emory should call itself a sanctuary regardless of if they get stripped of funding,” Zeck said. “By calling it a safe harbor and not calling it a sanctuary, they kind of don’t show 100 percent support for immigrants and for all the students.”  

Emory's President Claire Sterk has said she won't use the word "sanctuary." Instead, she calls Emory a safe harbor because "there are many who interpret sanctuary status as a commitment to disobey federal law."

Gov. Nathan Deal’s office declined to comment on whether he plans to sign the bill into law.

WABE reporter Johnny Kauffman contributed to this story.