Download full PDF here
NYU Must Protect International and Immigrant Students and Workers Against Trump and Covid-19
We, members of the Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC-UAW Local 2110), condemn the anti-immigration policies targeting international and undocummented students and demand that NYU act against these racist policies, especially during these uncertain times.
Since the onset of the COVID crisis, Trump’s administration has been using the pandemic as a way to implement anti-immigrant policies targeting many international and undocumented students and workers. On May 26th, 2020, the Trump administration discussed plans to cancel visas issued to Chinese graduate students and bar them from entering or staying in the US (see here and here). This plan is estimated to affect around 3000 students, including ones that are currently living in the U.S by threatening them with deportation. This is a scapegoating tactic by the Trump administration to distract from the real issues impacting workers. Such moves will have a very real impact of increasing racial and xenophobic tensions. We are already seeing these consequences play out in some universities. NYU must act quickly against these plans by issuing a statement opposing them, as a way to pressure those in power from moving forward and implementing these plans.
Apart from the cancelation of Chinese students’ visas, Trump’s administration has also set up plans to put temporary restrictions on OPT visas (see here). These restrictions will only exacerbate the already existing challenges international students have to endure. NYU must recognize and work to mitigate the effects of Trump administration travel bans on visas and related paperwork, given that students from many countries will be expected to return home to receive renewals despite the fact that borders and embassies are closed, and there is no guarantee of return.
In addition to protecting international students and workers, we demand that NYU protect undocumented students and workers that have also been impacted by anti-immigration policies. The Trump administration has suspended asylum processing, and implemented a lockdown between the US-Mexico border, threatening many immigrants and asylum seekers. Students prevented from entering or staying in the U.S are at risk of having unsafe access to health centers and shelter spaces. Such draconian anti-immigration policies targeting international and undocumented students are a matter of life and death in many cases, and NYU must act to protect them.
More concretely, we demand that NYU:
- ● Immediately issue a statement opposing the cancelation of visas of Chinese graduate students and actively lobby against this plan in Washington DC.
- ● Secure OPT options. NYU shall clarify the actions that it will take to lobby against the proposed revocation of OPT work authorization.
- ● Ensure safe entry and stay in the US. Ensure that all international and undocumented students are able to continue traveling easily in and out of the U.S. to pursue their work and studies.
- ● Ensure a funding package that will provide the necessary funds for them to maintain their immigration status throughout the duration of the graduate research.
- ● Remove the $500 cap on NYU’s Emergency Relief Grant and widen its coverage for international, undocumented, and all other graduate workers who do not qualify for federal stimulus checks and unemployment benefits.
- ● Assured and subsidized housing. NYU must show its disapproval of anti-immigration policies by providing affordable and safe housing to all its international and undocumented workers.
- ● Become a sanctuary campus, as part of New York City’s pledge to remain a sanctuary city under Trump.
GSOC has also endorsed the statement by the International and Immigrant Student Workers Alliance, and is committed to fighting to secure these material benefits and protections for international and undocumented grad-workers through our contract negotiations. NYU cannot pride itself on having a diverse international student body representing around 13,000 students from all over the world without providing any protection to these individuals.
In solidarity, GSOC-UAW Local 2110