FIRST ON FOX: Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is introducing legislation that would bar schools and colleges that receive federal funding from being used to house illegal immigrants – amid concerns over school buildings being used by sanctuary cities as part of the effort to tackle the ongoing migrant crisis.
Cruz is introducing the Senate version of The Schools Not Shelters Act, which would bar K-12 schools, colleges and universities that receive federal funds from sheltering illegal immigrants – and would bar funding from going to them if they do.
The bill makes exceptions for natural disaster response, such as for hurricanes and floods.
The bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Marc Molinaro, R-NY, earlier this year and passed the House with four Democrats supporting in July.
Housing migrants in schools became a hot political issue particularly in New York this year, as New York City struggled to deal with a surge of migrants into the interior. The sanctuary city has seen over 110,000 migrants hit the city since last year. Officials there and elsewhere have called for more federal action and declared themselves overwhelmed by the numbers they are seeing, even though they are just a fraction of the numbers being seen at the border itself.
NYC officials eventually shut down its plan in May to house migrants in school gyms amid massive public pressure, but has still been scrambling to deal with the surge since then — including where to house new arrivals.
“The invasion at our southern border is straining local services, overwhelming hospitals, and overcrowding schools. To make matters worse, leftist sanctuary cities are even using K-12 schools and college campuses as housing for illegal aliens,” Cruz said in a statement.
“Instead of addressing the learning loss caused by Democrat COVID lockdowns, sanctuary cities are focused on diverting resources from students to house illegal aliens. Students are losing access to gyms, dorms, and other school facilities in order to accommodate illegal aliens. Housing unvetted, potentially dangerous illegal aliens in schools is a recipe for disaster,” he said.
Co-sponsors on the bill include Sens. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Ted Budd, R-N.C., Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., and Tom Cotton, R-Ga.
“Students should feel safe and be prioritized while at school, and my bill reverses these terrible Democrat policies that have put illegal aliens ahead of students. I call on Senator [Chuck] Schumer to listen to New York parents and bring this bill to the Floor for a vote,” Cruz said.
The bill comes as the U.S. is again seeing a surge in migrant crossings at the southern border. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced last week that there were more than 230,000 migrant encounters in August — making it the highest August on record.
Meanwhile this week, there have been multiple days when agents have encountered around 11,000 migrants, exceeding the record highs seen before the end of the Title 42 public health order in May.