Ever since President Donald Trump was elected and the deportation of illegal immigrants was expedited, some students at Georgetown University have become involved in the “sanctuary campus” movement.
“Everyone is afraid — for themselves if they are an immigrant and/or for their friends and families who are undocumented,” said Jessica Andino in a March 4 interview at a café near campus. “They are afraid of being picked up and deported while on or near the campus and without warning.” She wants the university to protect them.
Andino is the GU Student Association’s chair of undocumented student inclusivity. She was also just elected vice president of the association for the coming academic year. A soft-spoken third-year student, studying domestic politics, Andino grew up in Rockville, Maryland, of El Salvadorian parents. This year, she has lobbied successfully for more campus-wide awareness of and support for people who do not have legal documents — variously referred to as “undocumented,” “unauthorized” or “illegal.”
So far, Andino has been successful in getting funding for a half-time staff position in Georgetown’s Global Engagement Center — the university office for foreign students and scholars, study abroad and other international programs — for a counselor for undocumented students, faculty and staff, including food-service and maintenance workers. A new webpage called undocuhoyas.edu has been developed.
Andino’s goals for the rest of the year include making the advisor position full-time and establishing training programs in which Georgetown students, faculty and administrators will become aware of the fears and plight of the undocumented portion of the campus community.
So how many “undocumented” people are there on campus? Andino wasn’t sure. Applications do not generally ask for immigration status. She thinks there may be around 40 — not all Latinos — and that the number will grow as staff are included.
What if they have committed a serious criminal violation? Should immigration enforcement agents be allowed to come on campus to pick them up?
Andino asserted that no student with a criminal record would be accepted. But she didn’t know what would happen if an undocumented person committed a crime after he or she became a student or a staff member.
“What we want most of all is to know what plan Georgetown University has about immigration enforcement on campus,” she said. Now she has to find out who at the university has that authority.