By Stephen Owsinski:
Down here in Florida—the Sunshine State—a few elements are casting a pall. I am not referring to inclement weather elements but legal, moral, ethical and fiscal ones…and the gross tally will be the financial responsibility of tax payers, even if they are unaware.
Perhaps taking their namesake too literally, Florida International University professors in Miami, FL, are petitioning FIU administration for their campus to be declared a “sanctuary campus,” safeguarding illegal immigrants who arrived here from all points international, akin to the much-abhorred and controversial concept we know as “sanctuary cities.” Whether sanctuary city or sanctuary campus, taxes finance the absurdity. Moreover, both perpetuate liability. Sanctuary cities which harbor immigrants who commit crimes will be on-the-hook for allowing the bad elements to coexist among law-abiding citizens. Think settlements. Sanctuary campuses will be mired in the same litigation, and the state taxpayer checkbook will be the bail.
Florida International University is a public institution among the Florida state university system comprising 12 different campuses whose oversight is provided by a Board of Governors. Each Florida public academic campus operates and exists, thanks to the infusion of tax dollars. To even suggest any of the campuses serve as a refuge for illegal immigrants is tantamount to eliciting every tax-paying resident to be a party to such an egregious, unlawful affront.
Moreover, each and every professor or administrator who supports the notion of harboring illegal aliens, including concealing immigrant existence and identities from law enforcement authorities, meets the definition of violating certain statutes such as aiding and abetting, obstruction of justice, and harboring a fugitive.
Florida International University bills itself as a robust and vibrant academic research institution, boasting 54,100 students, of which roughly 63 percent are demographically categorized as “Hispanic.” The argument is not of diversity, but one of legality.
FIU employs more than 1000 professors to educate its student population. Albeit early, we know some of the cadre of professors conjoined in this endeavor, identified as FIU Faculty for Sanctuary. Among the list of approximately 100-plus academicians who endorsed the petition to become a sanctuary campus, two are Law school professors.
This entire fiasco compels one to wonder if the Department of Education is aware of professors indoctrinating minds who are attending college life for impressions. How is demanding sanctuary campus status not fostering the absolute wrong impressions? However, this is not as imperative as the illegalities inherent in committing to such a “sanctuary” doctrine. Sanctuary for anyone in any illegal capacity amounts to nothing shy of co-conspiratorial actions, in direct violation of 8 USC Section 1324 in federal codes.
Interestingly, FIU has its own Law school. Constitutional law is a bedrock component in any law school curriculum. Therefore, since shielding illegal immigrants is being bandied-about at FIU, I wonder when/if the law school professors will get to admonish against such illegal stances and remind their overzealous professorial cohorts about certain statutes which would not only end their tenure but also bring disrepute to the campus.
My daughter attends a different Florida state university. However, had she been at FIU and exposed to the dubious integrity of some professors, I’d be absolutely incensed. The whim of a few professors in the vessel of a state university does not weigh more significantly than the student base whose choice of FIU was levied by sound judgments and specific programs.
A bizarre twist to consider is that two former FIU employees are convicted felons who, according to Judicial Watch investigative records, served federal prison stints for espionage and conspiracy, associated with the Cuban government. Freely, they operated as a married couple while both were employed by FIU—Carlos Alvarez a psychology professor and Elsa Alvarez a college counselor. Both are now convicts who once enjoyed clandestine subversion at FIU while spying for Communist Cuba and conspiring to conceal such activities. If this part-and-parcel nugget does not increase furor over thoroughly vetting those who enter upon American soil, what will?
Speaking of vetting, I am eager to see how the Florida International University Police Department (FIUPD) handles the fallout. More importantly, I am curious to see if campus police executives mimic San Francisco and its “sanctuary city” policies whereby law enforcement officials are complicit, in effect denying federal agents access to any illegal immigrant information and notifications (detainers) as established per federal codes. Particularly, 8 USC Section 1373 (section “B”) delineates the basis of law enforcement cooperative efforts to satisfy Immigration codes and facilitations.
The FIU police department is lead by a Hispanic police chief, whose integrity I hope is more firmly rooted in the Constitution than their counterparts in San Fran and other sanctuary cities where law enforcement leaders renounced their oaths by slamming the door on the feds. In a New York Times article, Temple University Law Professor Yan C. Ting chimed in and intimated the following: “Laws imposed locally for the protection of illegal immigrants interfere with the normal cooperation between law enforcement agencies.” San Francisco is an ideal example of systemic atrophy.
Speaking of atrophy, President Obama did nothing to ameliorate sanctuary city controversy; in fact, he implored it and threw money at those cities, per a Judicial Watch Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) esposé. As a huge practitioner of pardoning prisoners, Obama also released nearly 170,000 illegal aliens to American streets, many of whom had convictions encompassing homicide, sexual assault, and kidnapping. In parallel fashion, will we (universities) be harboring individuals who may commit crimes, influenced by the knowledge that they have a college cocoon they can run to?
Another element involving President Obama is his Executive Order-declaration known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an act essentially granting temporary amnesty for undocumented immigrants—coined in the DACA program as “dreamers”—who were brought to America as children, albeit by illegal means. The core of DACA provides recipients with two-year renewable deferred-action-from-deportation amnesty and work permits. One eligibility criteria is enrollment in a school. Conundrum?
President-elect Donald Trump vehemently extolled his intention to repeal DACA and deport millions of those undocumented, a resounding presidential campaign promise echoed to voters. Retired Marine Corps General John Kelly, Mr. Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), will oversee federal agencies charged with immigration enforcement and facilitation (deportation). Kelly is noted for staunch advocacy of border security and immigration enforcement.
A Pew Research study indicates six states comprise 59 percent of all illegal immigrants in 2014; Florida is among them. In addition to Alabama and South Carolina, Georgia is not among the choices, having banned illegal immigrants from attending state university campuses. The core reasons? Burden on state taxpayers, and seat priority should be given to qualified (legal) students.
Among FIU’s efforts, a petition circulating on change.org includes a “list of demands” (yes, their exact words) posed to FIU President Mark Rosenberg, cajoling him to declare FIU a sanctuary campus. Of the “demands,” the following three are surreal:
The college/university refuses all voluntary information with ICE/CBP [federal law enforcement agencies] across all aspects of the college/university to the fullest extent possible under law;
The college/university refuses ICE [Immigrations and Customs Enforcement] physical access to all land owned or controlled by the college/university;
The college/university prohibits campus security [FIU police officers] from inquiring about or recording as to an individual’s immigration status or enforcing immigration laws or participating with ICE/CBP in actions.
Well, how do ya’ like them apples? They refuse to acknowledge and comply with federal law; they wish to treat federal agents as mere trespassers; they imply ownership of state-owned property; and they demand their own campus police force look the other way.
There are more “demands” so I will wait until FIU sanctuary campus petitioners get their way and rewrite the U.S. Constitution as they seem determined to do. (That was my facetious side.)
Per 8 USC Section 1373, section B, “State governments do not have authority, however, to directly regulate aliens and immigration, id. at 358, such as by determining which aliens may be admitted to the United States or by setting the terms and conditions under which those aliens may remain. Moreover, state and local governments must be careful to ensure that their actions do not infringe upon the comprehensive regulatory regime of the INA. For a state or local government to act on a matter that affects aliens and immigration, that action cannot interfere with the Federal Government’s authority to administer the INA.” Precisely.
And the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause envelops the aforementioned section, unambiguously.
Stephen Owsinski is a Senior OpsLens Contributor and retired law enforcement officer whose career included assignments in the Uniformed Patrol Division and Field Training Officer (FTO) unit. He is currently a researcher and writer.