Penn for Immigrant Rights and Penn Political Coalition's I Am A Human Demonstration Gionni Ponce '15 (hat) Tania Chairez '14 (white boots) Angel Contrera '13 (black jacket blue hood) Abraham Moller '15 (A's hat) Iris Mayoral '15 (I am Latina sign) Afnaan Moharram '14 (tan headscarf) Ibi Etomi '14 (turquoise) Ricky Swieton '14 (Penn shirt) Jose Gonzales '14 (grey sweatshirt) Credit: Abby Graham

In a voice vote, the Arkansas House Education Committee rejected a proposal that would have prevented state universities from instituting “sanctuary” policies, The Associated Press reported Tuesday. 

The stance taken by Arkansas lawmakers differs from those taken in some other red states, where officials have aimed to prevent cities and university campuses from instituting such sanctuary policies.

Many cities and universities across the country have declared themselves to be sanctuary environments, including  environments, including Penn and the city of Philadelphia. CNN reported that a "sanctuary city" is defined as “a broad term applied to jurisdictions that have policies in place designed to limit cooperation with or involvement in federal immigration enforcement actions.”

Although no Arkansas university had proposed any sanctuary policies, Arkansas state Rep. Brandt Smith (R), who proposed the measure, said the bill would deter them from doing so.

Although the bill did not pass, some lawmakers noted that they still had the ability to withhold funding from universities through the regular budget process. "Why should I pass a bill to grant myself a power I already have to fix a problem that does not exist?" Arkansas state Rep. Jana Della Rosa (R) said in the AP article. 

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order cutting off federal funding to cities that do not comply with federal immigration laws, but Democratic Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in January he has no plans to change the way the city currently operates.

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