More than 1,500 people have signed a petition asking the University of Kentucky to become a sanctuary campus, one that provides shelter for undocumented students and community members from federal deportation efforts.
The petition was started by three graduate students in the geography department, and was delivered to President Eli Capilouto and Provost Tim Tracy on Tuesday.
“In light of president-elect Trump’s proposed policies regarding immigration, undocumented students are afraid of losing their work permits, in-state tuition, and financial aid,” Sophonie Bazile, Leif Johnson and Araby Smyth wrote in a letter accompanying the petition. “Much of their future as students depends on the renewal of their DACA status. Furthermore, considering the statements made by members of president-elect Trump’s subsequent administration, undocumented students and community members face the threat of raids and deportation.”
The current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program allowed more than 700,000 children who were brought to the U.S. without documentation to temporarily live, work and go to school in the U.S.
According to Inside Higher Ed, more than 90 college and university presidents have signed a statement calling for the continuation and expansion of DACA. Pomona College President David Oxtoby started the circulation.
“With DACA, our students and alumni have been able to pursue opportunities in business, education, high tech and the nonprofit sector; they have gone to medical school, law school and graduate schools in numerous disciplines,” Oxtoby said. “They are actively contributing to their local communities and economies.”
Numerous schools have also signed similar petitions to create sanctuary campuses, including Yale, Harvard and Brown.
The UK students said they would ask UK not to comply with deportations or raids. However, it’s not clear if UK would be officially notified if federal immigration officials were on UK’s campus.
UK officials did not have any comment, except to say they had received the petition and would review it.