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Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions and Concerns about UMD’s ICE Contract  

The following answers were provided by UMD’s Office of Strategic Communications

  • The university currently has one active academic contract with the Homeland Security Investigations Division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The contract covers up to 25, two-day training sessions where university researchers present terrorism-related research findings to homeland security investigators who are sent to U.S. Embassies abroad. The contract runs through March 31, 2022.
  • It is important to note that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is made up of three divisions: Management and Administration; Homeland Security Investigations, and Enforcement and Removal Operations. This contract is with the Homeland Security Investigations division, not the Enforcement and Removal Operations division.
  • The contract is for the university’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) to provide cultural competency and counterterrorism training to homeland security special agents who are stationed at embassies abroad and who will work with the interagency Embassy team on counterterrorism investigations. START is to provide at least two (up to five), two-day training seminars each year for five years to help equip these investigators with unbiased, science-based knowledge on the origins, ideologies, and methods associated with international terrorism, as well as cultural awareness training.
  • The training seminars feature empirical research on terrorism, based on START’s thirteen years of unclassified, academic inquiry on the subject, and more than 160 completed and ongoing research projects. Drawing from the findings of those projects, the training seminars are created and led by START personnel. Like START’s research agenda, the training seminars are not specific to any one ideology or ethnolinguistic group but look at the phenomenon of terrorism irrespective of the ideology that motivates it.
  • While the training seminar focuses on providing homeland security investigators with an overview of terrorism and the nature of the terrorist threat in their regions of responsibility and worldwide, the longest block of instruction is dedicated to providing those officers with cultural awareness training, which addresses topics such as cultural sensitivities, naming conventions and common social norms that inform interpersonal cross-cultural communication and are relevant to law enforcement-citizen encounters.
  • The training that UMD is providing is for homeland security investigators who are stationed at embassies abroad and who work with the interagency Embassy team on counterterrorism investigations. The training is led by William Braniff, Director of START, who has made it his personal mission over the last 13 years to displace racist and Islamophobic counterterrorism ‘training’ by taking every opportunity to provide training that is based on high-quality, objective research and subject matter expertise – first at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, and for the last seven years at START.
  • Given START’s past performance and reputation as a leader in the academic study of global terrorism, in June 2017, the Department of Homeland Security invited START to provide a quote and statement of work for the Homeland Security Investigation division’s Visa Security Program Visa Security Investigations Course. START submitted a quote and statement of work and was awarded the contract.
  • The university’s values of diversity and inclusion, tolerance and intellectual freedom, and our commitment to our students, remain unwavering. As a public research institution, it is our mission to advance knowledge in areas of importance to the state, the nation, and the world using research-based, data-driven, and nonpartisan methods. This includes working with a variety of federal agencies.
  • START aims to provide counterterrorism policymakers and practitioners, such as the homeland security investigators who partake in this training, with the highest quality, data-driven research findings on the human causes and consequences of terrorism in an effort to ensure that homeland security policies and operations reflect these science-based, non-partisan, non-politicized understandings about human behaviors.
  • Without the involvement of nonpartisan research universities, contracts like these could instead be awarded to groups and organizations with a clear political agenda. It is because of our values of diversity and inclusion, tolerance and intellectual freedom, the role of science in policy and practice, and our commitment to our students, that we do the work that we do, in the way that we do it.
  • The university has had prior academic contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute at the University of Maryland conducted training programs on the storage, labeling, and incident handling of hazardous materials. As an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)-recognized program, the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute has offered this training for a variety of federal agencies and law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, Secret Service, NIST, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and U.S. military operating across the globe.
  • The contract was for eight, 5-day, and 40-hour safety training courses for customs officials to provide information on how to detect, identify and handle any hazardous substances entering the United States from abroad. The contract expired in September 2018.
  • The University of Maryland Police Department (UMPD) does not conduct inquiries about an individual’s citizenship in the regular course of their work. The only exception to this is when UMPD inquiries about an individual’s citizenship in order to make mandated consular notifications to an individual’s home country. Consular notifications are required by federal law as a part of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
  • In terms of the Concurrent Jurisdiction Agreement that the University of Maryland has with Prince George’s County, UMPD’s policies are consistent whether they are on campus or off.  Similar to Prince George’s County’s procedures, the University of Maryland officers do not honor U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers without a warrant. However, UMPD does not have the legal authority to prevent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement from conducting operations within the City of College Park.      
  • We value our diverse campus community. Every day members of the University of Maryland Police Department work tirelessly to ensure the safety and security of our campus community. UMPD is a service-oriented agency. Our priority is in keeping our campus safe and being a resource for those who need help.

For more information about this conversation take a look a the following articles:

UMD’s ICE Contract: These Two DC Area Universities Have Large Contracts with ICE

Stories beneath the shell: Undocumented students say university support programs are helpful but not easily accessible

The Diamondback: UMD no longer has a contract with ICE

Commonly Asked Questions

Undocumented refers to people who are not U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents of the United States, who do not hold a visa to reside in the U.S., and who have not applied for or are eligible for the current program available to attain legal residency in the U.S. There is no federal law that prohibits undocumented students from attending a higher education institution. Undocumented people are able to attend K-12, community colleges, and four-year public institutions.

UndocuTerp refers to students who are undocumented and are also part of the University of Maryland, College Park community. The term UndocuTerp is commonly used by students who connect with the UMD community (Terp) and their undocumented identity. This term is sometimes used as a way to navigate away from the negative connotations given to terms such as undocumented, immigrant, non-U.S. citizen and so forth.

The Maryland Dream Act became law on December 6, 2012, and applies to all future semesters, starting with the 2013 winter session and beyond. MD Dream Act is a tuition equity law and allows Maryland high school graduates who are undocumented immigrants the opportunity to qualify for the lowest tuition rates at their public colleges and universities upon meeting certain eligibility requirements and submitting required documentation. The Act applies in all 24 jurisdictions within the state of Maryland – every county in the state of Maryland, plus the city of Baltimore.

This law enables certain undocumented high school graduates to obtain a post-secondary education at an affordable price. If students meet the requirements of the law, they can qualify for the in-state tuition rate at a four-year public university. However, they do not qualify for federal financial aid and are barred from some scholarships. 

For questions about the process please visit the Office of the Registrar webpage at: 

To apply for the Maryland Dream Act, please email, for more information. 

On June 5, 2012, President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would not deport certain undocumented youth who came to the United States as children. Certain undocumented people who came to the United States as children and meet several key guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and would then be eligible for work authorization. This action is separate from the Maryland DREAM Act.

Unfortunately, USCIS is not accepting new DACA applicants. DACA renewals are still being accepted. 

Undocumented students, including DACA recipients, are not eligible for federal financial aid.

However, they may be eligible for state or college financial aid, or private scholarships. To learn more about access to the Maryland State Financial Aid Application go to their website here and take a look at the user guide here.

Yes, all students regardless of their immigration status with an interest in attending the University of Maryland are encouraged to apply for admission. If you are a first-time student, you should seek to complete the freshman application for admission. If you are transferring from another institution and will have completed 12 credits or more, you should seek to complete the transfer application for admission. Please visit: for more information on transferring and or talk to our undocumented student working group liaison member in the office of undergraduate admissions: Adrian Rodriguez |  | 301.314.8385

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