BOSTON - On Wednesday, dozens of Northeastern University students and faculty protested against a multimillion-dollar research contract the school has with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Federal spending data shows that Northeastern has received $2.7 million from ICE over the last two years.
Northeastern says the grant isn't funding research that has anything to do with immigration enforcement. But protesters insist having any kind of contract with ICE is "irresponsible and immoral."
Governmental agencies recently came under fire after families were separated at the southern United States border.
One of the protest's organizers, Ienna Fernandez, told Boston 25 News Reporter Stephanie Coueignoux that while she is a U.S. Citizen now, her family faced deportation after coming to the United States illegally from the Philippines.
"I was only six years old at the time," she said. "I felt that kind of hostility and fear that if uncovered, I would be discriminated against.'
Amid the national uproar over immigrant detentions, over 2,100 students, faculty and alumni have signed an open letter and petition demanding the contract be spiked.
In response to the protests, Northeastern University issued the following statement to Boston 25 News.
"Peaceful protests are the hallmark of a great university. We celebrate the vigorous exchange of competing ideas, which is the basis of higher learning. Efforts to restrict which federal agencies a faculty member can approach for research funding are antithetical to academic freedom."
Johns Hopkins University, the University of Alabama-Birmingham and Vermont's state colleges also got ICE grants this year.
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