BALTIMORE (WJZ) — In a call for change, hundreds of Johns Hopkins students staged a walkout Wednesday urging the University to cut its contractual ties with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency [ICE].
The walkout comes in the midst of a national debate over immigration under the Trump administration.
Over the years, Johns Hopkins has had several contracts with ICE.
These ties were mainly with the medical school to provide medical training and leadership education for the agency.
“Our specialized training and leadership programs with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency have no relationship to the enforcement of immigration policies by the current or any other administration,” the University said in a statement.
But many Johns Hopkins students believe ties with ICE go against the core values of the University.
“We believe it’s against Hopkins’ core value, mission and alleged commitment to diversity to continue these contract,” Samantha Agarwal, a graduate student, said.
Wednesday’s walkout started small but quickly grew to hundreds of students delivering their message.
But students say the walkout was the tip of the iceberg.
Students had started a petition and gained 2,000 signatures trying to force Johns Hopkins University to cut its contractual ties with ICE.
They feel as though they had been ignored by the University.
“We’re all really frustrated that Hopkins has failed to take our demands seriously,” Samantha Agarwal, a graduate student, said.
Organizers of the movement say they are just getting started.
“If we don’t stand up right now for them, when will this end,” Erini said. “We need to draw the line in the stand right now.”