The RHA voted Tuesday night to investigate designating the University of Maryland as a sanctuary campus in an effort to protect undocumented students.
The resolution passed 44-3 with no abstentions.
"It's part of our mission to help establish a climate that is warm and welcoming, as well as safe and inclusive, for all students, including undocumented immigrants," said RHA president Steve Chen, a senior biology and individual studies major. "We're going to continue to look into this issue of sanctuary campuses."
RHA public relations officer Helen Liu, one of the bill's authors, called the sanctuary campus designation a "show of solidarity."
"We're starting a conversation," the junior information systems and marketing major said. "We're opening the door of 'What can we do as a campus … to protect our undocumented students?'"
President-elect Donald Trump stated during his campaign that cities that don't comply with immigration authorities would "not receive taxpayer dollars," according to a November article in The Atlantic. Some RHA members expressed concerns that this university could potentially lose federal funding if it designated itself a sanctuary campus.
But RHA finance and philanthropy officer Sam Bingaman, a co-author of the bill, said there is a growing resistance to Trump's rhetoric.
"I have a feeling that if the resistance is large enough … there will be a lot of issues with taking away federal funding from so many states," said Bingaman, a senior environmental science and policy major.
The resolution came in the wake of an email from university President Wallace Loh, in which he voiced his support for the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals measure and Maryland's DREAM Act, which prevent the deportation of undocumented young people and allow them access to in-state tuition and financial aid at state universities. There are 113 undocumented students, graduate and undergraduate, who receive DACA as of this fall semester, according to a November Diamondback article.
The email followed a Nov. 17 protest on this campus, where chants of "No Hate. No Fear. Immigrants are welcome here," broke out among the crowd.
"Our efforts align with students behind the Protect UMD protest, and efforts by SGA and GSG as well," Chen said.
The SGA is considering a similar measure, the Diamondback reported on Nov. 17.
Prince George's County became a sanctuary county in 2003, according to the American Civil Liberties Union website.
Universities across the country are seeing similar efforts among their students. Thousands of students from Harvard, Yale and Brown signed petitions asking their university officials to protect undocumented students, The Washington Post reported.
CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this story identified Helen Liu as a senior. She is a junior. This article has been updated.