Ramapo Should Not Be Declared a Sanctuary Campus

By MATTHEW BEDELL
On March 1, 2017

Photo courtesy of Smartalic 34, Wikipedia

I want to start off by saying that I am not against immigration; in fact, I support making the immigration process easier.  I am in full support of green card holders, visa holders and whatever other legal means an immigrant uses to come to this country.  What I cannot support is illegal immigrants and making Ramapo College of New Jersey a sanctuary campus.  

California, a sanctuary state, has been threatened with losing its federal funding by President Trump. Trump has not been shy to threaten the pulling of federal funds from institutions, cities, or states that do not directly comply with his ideals.

If Trump is so willing to pull federal funding from an entire state, there is concern as to how he would react to a sanctuary campus. States such as Texas and Georgia are following in Trump's footsteps and threatening to pull state funding from colleges if they were to declare themselves sanctuaries. If this were to happen to Ramapo, the financial ramifications could be detrimental to the college and its students.

While Ramapo does not disclose the amount of money that it gets from federal sources, the average for federal funding seems to be around 8.3 percent of its budget.  Furthermore, state aid represents 27.3 percent of the funding that the college receives.  While it is not clear how the state aid is broken down, it is clear that losing the support of the state would be financially devastating.  What it would mean for all students is increased tuition to make up for lost money that would make college more unaffordable for lower income students.

The question now is, how many students do we gain to help compared to those whom we may hurt?  Emotionally charged speeches and rallies are fine but at the end of the day, declaring Ramapo a sanctuary campus could harm us all. I doubt that we have more than a dozen students who are undocumented, but I guarantee that there are over a hundred low-income students; most, if not all of whom are struggling to go to college and pay for it without being knee deep in debt.  If we go through with this plan, it could potentially mean dozens, if not hundreds of students, including me, would drop out due to rising costs.

I want to stress that the low-income students are not the only ones affected by a decision like this.  Everyone would have to pay a nominally higher tuition, which would put a strain on your family's financial situation. You need to be able to look out for yourself and your family first before we can begin worrying about others.

I understand the counter argument, that this is a humanitarian crisis.  The issue with getting sympathy from me is that these people are here illegally.  Whether or not you want to argue over the semantics of the word by substituting illegal with undocumented, they are still not supposed to be in this country to begin with.  The very act of existing in this country without a valid reason or identification is against the law. I do not know how many illegal immigrants are here at Ramapo, but I want to put American citizens and those who came to this country legally first and not make them pay a higher tuition for making this college a sanctuary campus.

mbedell@ramapo.edu

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