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Rep. Hunter Wants To Withhold Student Aid From Sanctuary Campuses—Can He Do That?

February 14, 2017 10:28 a.m.

Congressman Duncan Hunter, a Republican from Alpine, has introduced a bill defining sanctuary universities and prohibiting them from receiving federal student aid. In California, this money accounts for more than two-thirds of the aid students receive.

Related Story: Rep. Hunter Wants To Withhold Student Aid From Sanctuary Campuses—Can He Do That?


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

A bill from Alpine Congressman Duncan Hunter would prohibit sanctuary universities from receiving federal student aid. This and recent White House executive orders have left campuses feeling vulnerable — and their law experts busy. KPBS education reporter Megan Burks spoke to one of them, and has this story.

Niels Frenzen specializes in immigration law at the University of Southern California. He says Congressman Hunter's bill probably wouldn't pass legal muster.

The Supreme Court has clearly held that the federal government cannot compel states to enforce federal laws. The federal government can create incentives for states to enforce federal laws, but the federal government cannot coerce.

Joe Kasper is Hunter's chief of staff. He disagrees.

Congress under Article I has the power of the purse, the right to determine what to fund and what not to fund through its process. Where the legal challenges sometimes come in on certain fronts is whether or not Congress is acting outside its Constitutional purview.

The bill is still in committee must become law for there to be a Constitutional challenge. In the meantime, Hunter has said he will not pass along discretionary funding requests from sanctuary campuses in his district.

Megan Burks, KPBS News