VICTORY! Thanks to collective action by UAW Local 4121 and thousands of other academic workers, as well as university and state government allies, ICE rescinded its directive requiring international students to attend classes in person or face deportation. #NoStudentBan #NoDeportations

Check out this piece by UAW Local 4121 Vice President Sam Sumpter and Dan Hart on how, together with other UAW members and our University and government allies around the country, UW Academic Student Employees and Postdocs participated in lawsuits, rallied, spoke out, and dialed up the public pressure until ICE backed down from its decision to deport international students attending online classes this fall. “As unionized international student workers, we have unique power…in shaping and responding to important political decisions like this one.”

UAW Declaration in Lawsuit Against ICE 7/13

The UAW filed a brief on behalf of 80,000 UAW academic workers across the country, in collaboration with AFT, CWA and SEIU, in the lawsuit against ICE’s 7/6 announcement to deport international students if courses are moved online.

TELL ICE: NO STUDENT BAN – Monday 7/13 at 9am

Take Action! Monday July 13th at 9:00 a.m. PST at the ICE Field Office at 3rd and Spring in downtown Seattle. Tell ICE: #NoStudentBan #NoDeportations. Physical Distancing and Masks Required!

Academic workers across the country will protest the directive announced this week by ICE that could result in the removal of thousands of international students and scholars this Fall quarter. This will be a simultaneous action in multiple cities, timed to take place one day before a hearing in Massachusetts District Court on Tuesday 7/14 over the lawsuit filed by Harvard University and MIT to seek a temporary restraining order against the proposed directive.

UAW is participating in the Harvard lawsuit, and is coordinating with both the University of Washington administration and the Washington State Attorney General’s office in the lawsuit that was filed Friday by the WA State Attorney General. While we are cautiously optimistic that these suits could temporarily halt the ICE directive, the fight to block scapegoating of non-US citizens by the Trump administration is ongoing.

In addition, a UW international student work group member gave a presentation to Congressional staffers around the country, organized by Rep Pramila Jayapal and others who have authored a Congressional letter protesting the announcement. The workgroup also sent an open letter to the UW President, thanking her for making a strong statement against the directive and also encouraging the creation of a immigrant and international student and scholar-led Task Force, both to center the voices and experiences of people most affected by these announcements and to create stronger communication and support networks.

More info in this membership email, and RSVP on Facebook!

Info Session – Friday 7/10 AT 1PM PST

  • Friday 7/10 at 1pm PST we will be co-hosting an info session on the ICE announcement with guest speaker Stacey Gartland from immigration law firm Van Der Hout, LLP. You can now view a recording of the info session here!
  • This session is co-hosted by UAW 2865 (UC Students Workers Union), UAW 5810 (Union of Postdocs and Academic Researchers), UAW 4121 (Union of Academic Student Employees & Postdocs at the University of Washington), Washington Science Policy Network, UAW 4123 (Union of Academic Student Employees across CSU), UAW 2110 (Graduate Workers of Columbia and NYU Graduate Student Organizing Committee), UAW 5118 (Harvard Graduate Students Union), UAW Local 7902 (Student Employees at The New School), UAW Local 4100 (Columbia Postdoctoral Workers), UAW Local 6950 (University of Connecticut Graduate Employees and Postdocs), UAW Local 1596 (UMass Boston and Lowell Graduate Employee Organization), and Boston College Graduate Employees Union – UAW.

Directives Targeting International Students/Scholars

On July 6, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced changes to F-1 and M-1 status, stating that students on these visas may not remain in the US for Fall term if their course workload proceeds fully online. The situation is rapidly developing, and many details remain unclear. Our International Solidarity Working Group is working to determine how it will impact Academic Student Employees and Postdocs working at UW, and as a union we will continue to fight this and any other attack on international students and scholars. 

To be clear: This latest announcement is part of an ongoing effort by the Trump administration to scapegoat non-US citizens in the midst of the pandemic, exacerbating the economic and public health crisis. This scapegoating has not been limited to international students, and has recently included proclamations restricting certain visa holders (including UW Postdocs) from working in the U.S. and attempts to restrict OPT

In recent months we have come together with UAW academic workers across the country, university administration partners, and immigrant rights allies to fight the Trump admin’s xenophobic attacks. We have also advocated at the city and state level in coalition with immigrant rights groups for funding for undocumented Washingtonians or others who were not eligible for federal pandemic assistance as a result of their immigration status. 

These efforts are already leading to some success. For instance, through national coalition efforts we were able to stop the OPT restriction; and also there are positive signs from Seattle and the State of Washington that funding will be designated for non-citizens facing financial hardships. Through organizing and coalition building we can again stop this latest attack.  

Next Steps

Our union is working with electeds at the state and federal levels (Attorney General, Congress Members) to determine the best plan to fight the Trump administration.  Already members of Congress have started circulating Dear Colleague letters calling on the Head of Homeland Security to rescind the statement.  We were encouraged that UW President Cauce denounced the announcement by ICE and says UW is considering options for addressing these issues. To strengthen these efforts and center the voices and experiences of students and scholars who are most affected, we are creating a campus coalition for international, undocumented and other non-citizen populations. We also are calling on the UW administration to assemble a Task Force that is comprised of UAW and other organizations representing large numbers of international students, staff, and faculty so that affected populations can be part of the process of deciding how best to respond to these series of attacks, and for increased coordination and communication from ISS. Further, we are coordinating with UAW academic workers across the country to coordinate national efforts on these issues. 

Get Involved!

  • Join the International Solidarity Work Group by sending an email to (please use a non-UW email address) to get involved in coalition efforts to organize against these and other attacks
  • Ask your Department Chair/Admin to contact President Cauce in support of a system-wide Task Force comprised of a majority non-citizen students, faculty and staff  charged with responding to these and other anti-immigrant attacks & sign on for yourself!
  • Reach out to your Congressional Representative and Senators, and urge them to take action against the ICE announcement. An email/phone script and information about how to find your representatives is here
  • Sign on to the petition calling on UW Admin to create a 1-credit in-person class for international students.
  • Sign on to the petition calling for ICE to rescind this announcement.
  • Reach out to international students/scholars you know to offer support and make sure they’re aware of the resources and support available through the union.