AFT Resolution


WHEREAS, the American Federation of Teachers was founded on the principles of solidarity, equality, anti-discrimination, opportunity and justice, among others; and those principles have guided our work for more than 100 years; and

WHEREAS, over the course of our history, these principles have led us to fight against racism, religious bigotry and xenophobia, and to protect those who have been targets of discrimination and violence motivated by hate and bigotry; and

WHEREAS, in 2017, President Trump issued a series of executive orders banning citizens from Chad, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen from most visa categories, which has disrupted academic exchange and created severe hardship for our members and those we serve who are connected to these countries; and

WHEREAS, in January 2020, Trump issued another executive order expanding the scope of the ban to Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania; and

WHEREAS, international students and scholars from the banned countries, who are supposed to be exempt from the ban, have experienced substantial delays in visa processing for new visas or renewals causing these international students and scholars to miss entire semesters of work and study, and creating ripple effects in the entire academic community; and

WHEREAS, AFT members have seen firsthand the impact these bans can have. Whether they are currently separated from their loved ones or unable to finish their studies or whether they serve students, patients or families who are separated from a family they haven’t been able to see in years because of Trump's ban; and

WHEREAS, on Jan. 27, 2020, an Iranian citizen traveled to Detroit on a valid F-1 visa and was set to begin graduate studies at Michigan State University, where he would have been represented by the Graduate Employees Union, AFT Local 6196, but was instead detained by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, interrogated for six hours, deemed inadmissible, put in a county detention center, and deported; and

WHEREAS, despite efforts by the AFT, AFT Michigan, MSU Graduate Employees Union and the Wayne State Graduate Employees Organizing Committee, which mobilized in support of the student by engaging congressional representatives to stop the deportation, showing solidarity on social media, and by organizing a rapid response protest at the Detroit airport, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol cruelly deported the student within 24 hours anyway:

RESOLVED, the American Federation of Teachers joins the immigrants’ rights and global human rights community in denouncing Trump’s Muslim ban in all of its forms, including the most recent expansion, which subjects millions more people from Africa, Asia and the Middle East to the ban; and

RESOLVED, the AFT condemns the climate of intolerance and hate toward Muslims, nonwhite people, and real or perceived political adversaries that President Trump and his administration have encouraged, and affirms our solidarity with our Muslim colleagues, students, patients and neighbors; and

RESOLVED, the AFT will continue to seek justice for the Iranian student recently detained and deported from Detroit and for all AFT members affected by the ban through our solidarity and support, including engaging congressional representatives, and pursuing legal action to bring attention to this matter, to hold the Trump administration accountable, and to defeat discriminatory policies like the Muslim ban; and

RESOLVED, the AFT will support affiliates that are fighting for the rights of their members to travel, study and work in the United States without fear of harassment, interrogation, profiling, detention and deportation through rapid response mobilization at airports and support for individual members, students and patients who are affected; and

RESOLVED, the AFT will continue to provide support to our members to educate their students, employers and elected officials about how to dismantle Islamophobia and xenophobia and to support inclusion, diversity and nondiscrimination.