On May 7, a number of Republican Senators wrote a letter to the White House exploring ways to use the pandemic and the current state of unemployment in the U.S. to cancel non-immigrant visa programs such as OPT (Optional Practical Training) and its STEM extension. This program is crucial to international students and scholars—who make up half of our union—as it allows them to stay in the country after graduation and commence their employment while they obtain other work authorization.
Click here and tell Congress to Protect OPT! (with only a few clicks)
Many of you remember how hard we had to fight to preserve the STEM extension of the OPT program in 2015; where not only was the extension preserved, but we also saw many enhancements to the visa program—which was extended from 17 months to 24—by a nationwide collective action to push back on that attack. It is time to act again! With a few clicks, write a letter to your Congressional Representatives asking them to push back against the Trump administration trying to strip away international students and scholars’ rights.
GWC-UAW sent a letter to Secretary Pompeo (Department of State), Acting Secretary Wolf (Department of Homeland Security), Secretary Scalia (Department of Labor), and New York State Congressional Delegation urging them to put a stop to this initiative that will be detrimental not only to student workers but to universities across the country as it will diminish the international population on all campuses. We also sent a letter to President Lee Bollinger and Director of ISSO David Austell urging them to stand up to this attack and work with the union to protect the rights of international student workers.
We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will update you as we learn more. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with your questions and concerns by replying to this email.