FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Media contact on behalf of HGSU-UAW:
Libby Smelker, Libby@617MediaGroup.com, 617-485-4801
BOSTON, MA — Statement from the Harvard Graduate Student Workers Union – UAW on the Trump administration’s announcement that it is rescinding guidelines that would have barred international students on F-1 visas from entering the U.S and potentially exposed thousands to deportation if their classes were online during the COVID-19 pandemic:
The Trump administration’s guidelines were a cruel attempt to force colleges and universities to reopen even as COVID-19 cases grow across the country, putting domestic and international students in unnecessary danger. Following legal action from Harvard, MIT, a host of other universities, and Attorney General Maura Healey, as well as student worker rallies in Boston and across the country, the government backed down and agreed to rescind the guidelines yesterday in Federal Court.
By speaking out against this unlawful and dangerous notice, the student workers of HGSU-UAW and other UAW university unions showed that international students cannot be used as political pawns, and our safety and wellbeing cannot be compromised.
“If this guideline had been enacted, it would have destroyed livelihoods, broken apart families, and, given the raging global pandemic, even been a death sentence for some,” explained Aparna Gopalan, a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at Harvard and an organizer with the Harvard Graduate Students Union. “Today proves that standing together and speaking out brings about change. I hope this moment reminds us that our undocumented and low-income immigrant colleagues have long faced the dire circumstances we encountered this week, and I hope it galvanizes us to question the cruel, unnecessary role that ICE plays in the American immigration system.”
“We’re grateful for the swift and direct opposition to these guidelines, which undoubtedly caused the Trump administration to back down. The lawsuit filed by Harvard University and MIT and signed by dozens of colleges across the country, the recent lawsuit from Attorney General Maura Healey and 17 other attorneys general, and national student union actions from Boston to San Diego helped form a united front against this malicious notice. We thank all those who stood with us,” said Aayush Khadka, a Ph.D. candidate in the Chan School of Public Health and organizer with the Harvard Graduate Students Union.
Harvard Graduate Students Union, HGSU-UAW Local 5118 represents over 4,000 student workers in all departments of Harvard University and Harvard College.
The International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) is one of the largest and most diverse unions in North America, with members in virtually every sector of the economy. UAW-represented workplaces range from multinational corporations, small manufacturers and state and local governments to colleges and universities, hospitals and private non-profit organizations. The UAW has more than 430,000 active members and more than 580,000 retired members in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. The UAW represents roughly 80,000 higher education workers nationally, including 18,000 postdoctoral researchers, adjunct professors, and graduate workers in the Northeast who have chosen UAW representation in the last five years.