BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Donald Trump’s promise to deport illegal immigrants has heightened fears amongst foreign students. That’s sparked a nationwide effort to make college campuses safe zones for undocumented students.
The sanctuary campus movement has spread to more than 100 schools across the country, including a few in Maryland.
Comments from the president-elect sparked fears.
“It’s scary. This whole situation has been very scary,” said Towson University student Maria Centeno.
Centeno was brought to the U.S. as a baby and worries everything she’s worked for could disappear.
“This is my home. My friends are here. I grew up here,” said Centeno.
Classmate Fresia Blanco knows the pain of deportation.
“My dad was deported when I was 7. So I know what it feels like to have your family ripped apart,” said Blanco.
Now some students are working to protect their university family.
“We want to make our students that are daca feel safe on this campus,” said another Towson University student Jonathan Gallo.
They’re calling for Towson to be declared a save haven for undocumented students.
“You are supported and you don’t have to be afraid because we are here and we’re going to stand together,” said student Emely Rodriguez.
In Maryland there are more than 253,000 unauthorized immigrants. 35,000 of them are college age.
Several campuses across the country have sent petitions to school leadership asking them to protect undocumented students. In Los Angeles, school officials have made campuses safe zones for families threatened with deportation.
Several cities have also declared themselves sanctuaries.
“You no longer have to worry about living in fear. But then it just takes this election or presidency to get all that fear back,” said Daniela Velasquez, Towson University student.
Maria Centeno hopes to ease her fears.
“I want to know that I’m supported and I’m protected by my peers,” said Centeno.
So she can focus on her future. Monday, Towson University students held a walkout to speak out against the new administration. Four years ago, Maryland voters approved the dream act– giving in-state tuition to certain undocumented students.