12/21/2018

AFT sues Trump administration over attack on international workers

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The New School in New York City, Foothill-De Anza Community College District in California’s Santa Clara County and Haverford College in Pennsylvania—in a lawsuit to stop the Trump administration from implementing new rules that will hurt international graduate workers and teachers. 
 
The lawsuit challenges new rules aimed to trip up international visa holders by imposing travel bans for minor or unintentional violations before the individual is even given notice of a potential violation. One slip, such as a failure to update a new address, and any international grad worker or teacher in the country on an F-1 or J-1 visa could face a multiyear ban from returning to the United States. That’s why the AFT joined the colleges in seeking an injunction against new these rules. AFT members from Rutgers University in New Jersey, Brown University in Rhode Island and Jackson Public Schools in Mississippi supported the AFT’s involvement in the legal challenge by filing declarations that accompanied the lawsuit.
 
No matter how unintentional an individual’s visa violation may be, the new rules automatically trigger a civil penalty that could lead to their expulsion from the country. The result is a game of “gotcha” with potentially disastrous consequences for our international members’ ability to study, work and travel in the United States. The new rule is likely to render tens of thousands of F, J and M visa holders subject to three- and 10-year bans before they even are aware that they have violated any of their visa terms. The AFT’s lawsuit argues that the rules were not properly issued and seeks to have the rules rescinded. 
 
We’ve identified AFT members in Arizona, California, Kansas, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island who will be affected. If you or one of your fellow AFT members could be affected by these rules, contact Jessica Rutter in the AFT legal department (jrutter@aft.org).