FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 13, 2020
Media contact on behalf of HGSU-UAW:
Libby Smelker, Libby@617MediaGroup.com, 617-485-4801
Thousands of international college and university students thrown into limbo as new ICE guidelines threaten to send international students home and barring others reentry weeks before the fall semester begins
Boston, MA – On Monday, July 13, Student workers from Harvard University, Northeastern University, Boston College, UMass and other local universities will be gathering at the State House to protest recent guidelines from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which could potentially deport hundreds of thousands of international student workers who are teaching and attending online courses, in pursuit of their degrees while in the US. Many universities are moving to online-only courses to protect students and workers from COVID-19. The policy would also bar from reentry to the United States international students who left the country when the pandemic hit.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, Harvard Graduate Students Union – UAW members, international students and stakeholders will share their stories and speak about what these guidelines mean for the community.
International students across Massachusetts are rightfully outraged at the July 6 ICE announcement and the Trump administration’s total disregard for the real effects this ICE policy has on people and their families. International students who went home to ride out the pandemic will be prevented from returning to the US under this policy hindering their ability to continue their education. International students who are here may be deported, but they may have nowhere to go; their countries may be closed because of the pandemic; they may be separated from their family members here; or they may remain and risk being placed in an ICE detention center.
“The ICE announced changes would prohibit top research institutions from keeping the best and brightest researchers and teaching fellows in the US during this unprecedented time,” said Aayush Khadka, a Harvard student worker researching the impact of housing policy and environmental exposures on infant mortality in the US at the Chan School of Public Health. “Now is when we need to uplift higher education, when research is the most critical as we scramble to find a way to stop this pandemic, and these guidelines do the exact opposite.”
The rally comes on the heels of MIT and Harvard’s recently filed lawsuit seeking an injunction against the new guidelines, which will be heard on Tuesday in Federal Court. Attorney General Maura Healey has made public her plans to take legal action as well, tweeting: “Not on my watch. This is just another cruel (& illegal) attempt by the Trump Admin & ICE to stir up uncertainty & punish immigrants. Our state is home to thousands of international students who shouldn’t fear deportation or health risks in order to get an education. We will sue.”
UAW academic workers will take simultaneous, coordinated actions across the US, in New York City, Hartford, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. The aggressive ICE guidelines have the potential to negatively impact tens of thousands of UAW student workers at campuses ranging from NYU, Columbia, The New School and the University of Connecticut on the East Coast, to the University of Washington, University of California and California State University along the West Coast. Workers from those campuses will be rallying and picketing at federal buildings at the same time as the rally in Boston.
WHO: International Students from: Harvard Graduate Students Union (HGSU-UAW), Boston College Employees Union, Graduate Employees of Northeastern University, University of Massachusetts Graduate Employees Organizations and Attorney General Maura Healey
WHEN: Monday, July 13 at NOON
WHERE: Massachusetts State House Steps, (outside)
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.