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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vows to cut funding to sanctuary universities

By
Amy R. Connolly
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, seen here in 2014, said he will cut funding to any public university or college that declare themselves as sanctuary campuses to shelter undocumented students. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, seen here in 2014, said he will cut funding to any public university or college that declare themselves as sanctuary campuses to shelter undocumented students. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

DALLAS, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Texas Governor Greg Abbott vowed to cut funding to any public college or university that hopes to shelter undocumented immigrants as a sanctuary campus.

Abbott, in response to student- and faculty-driven petitions calling for sanctuary status, tweeted Thursday he would not tolerate any such movements in Texas. Thousands of students and faculty from Texas State University, the University of Texas, the University of North Texas and Texas Women's University have signed petitions demanding their schools' administrators designate the campuses safe havens for undocumented students.

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Abbott's comments come days after he said he does not back sanctuary status for any Texas municipalities and plans to ban cities from sheltering undocumented immigrants. His comments regarding public-run colleges and universities were no different.

"Texas will not tolerate sanctuary campuses or cities. I will cut funding for any state campus if it establishes sanctuary status," said Abbott, a Republican

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Petition drives began after the presidential election and fears President-elect Donald Trump would follow through on his campaign promise of immediately deporting millions of undocumented immigrants. Trump has since toned down his rhetoric, saying he will begin with deporting those who "are criminals and have criminal records."

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Some campus petitions are also asking university to guarantee students privacy by refusing to release the immigration status of anyone affiliated with the school.

Sheridan Lagunas-Aguirre with the University of Texas' University Leadership Initiative, a grassroots program that addresses obstacles faced by undocumented college students and graduates, said the governor's comments were concerning.

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"As a person who's undocumented, this baffles me," said Lagunas-Aguirre, who graduated from the University in May. "Immigrant students have been attending state universities since 2001, and Texas has built this legacy of protecting and supporting undocumented youth who are pursuing higher education."

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