Students at Highlands Ranch school try to prevent employee from being deported

UPDATE: On Sunday, Wanjiru said he received calls from the offices of Sens. Gardner and Bennet. They said they would like to help and will be speaking with Wanjiru again on Monday.

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- Students at Valor Christian High School are going viral as they try to prevent their school's IT expert from being deported.

Anthony Wanjiru grew up in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya and immigrated to the United States in 2011.

He earned a master's degree and has worked at Valor since 2014 on an H-1B visa.

Then, this week, Wanjiru made an emotional announcement in front of the entire school.

"I’ve been here in America on a visa," Wanjiru told students and staff. "And a while back, I applied for a renewal on the visa and was denied."

Earlier this month, Wanjiru received a letter saying he had 30 days to leave the country.

He's not alone.

The FOX31 Problem Solvers have discovered that under the Trump administration, H-1B visa rejections have skyrocketed. A few years ago, about 13 percent of the visa applications were rejected. In 2017, about 41 percent were denied.

"When I got the news, I was heartbroken," Wanjiru said.

So were Valor's students, who've grown close to Wanjiru.

"I was just so heartbroken," said Mackenzie Zody, a Valor student. "He has put so much into the school and each one of his students."

"He cares about everyone and always a smile on his face," said Isaiah Kelly, another Valor student.

"I just felt like we had to do something," said Valor student Zain Zinicola. "I just felt sad. His story really moved me."

So, the students created a viral social media campaign, hoping someone who sees it can change Wanjiru's fate.

The Problem Solvers reached out to the offices of Sens. Gardner and Bennet to see if they've heard about Wanjiru's issue and if there's anything they can do to help. As of Thursday night, we're still waiting for a response.

Valor Christian's head of school, Kurt Unruh, sent the Problem Solvers this statement about Wanjiru:

“Mr. Wanjiru is well-loved by our students and faculty. While we acknowledge that immigration issues are complex and need to be handled through legal channels, we are also proud to see our students participating in civic discourse and speaking on behalf of our friend and colleague. Anthony is one of us — whether here in Colorado or in Kenya. Our prayers and support for him are unwavering, and it is our sincere hope to have him back at Valor Christian as soon as possible.”

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