DPS apologizes after letter warns teachers on visas they could be reported to immigration officials if they strike

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Posted at 10:50 PM, Jan 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-25 00:50:37-05

DENVER – Denver Public School officials are apologizing after a notice went out to teachers warning those on working visas that they would be reported to immigration officials should they participate in a district-wide strike voted on earlier this week.

The letter, obtained by Denver7, states the district needs to be informed of the decision of teachers on H or J visas to go on strike “as soon as possible as we are required to report that to immigration and the US Department of State.”

That letter, however, was the result of “misrepresentation” of information received by the district’s immigration firm and an incorrect communication, according to DPS spokesman Will Jones.

“The communication was in no way intended to cause fear for our educators on visas,” Jones said in the prepared statement sent to Denver7 Thursday evening.

The district’s law firm does have guidance regarding teachers on H-1B and J-1 visas in the event of a labor strike.

The guidance provided by the law firm states DPS has to inform the U.S. Department of Labor if a strike begins, due to the requirements of the Labor Condition Applications that are part of the H-1B process. DPS does not, however, inform government officials, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, of the names of employees who are participating in a strike.

“DPS will not be collecting information or reporting information to immigration (USCIS) or the U.S. Department of State about any individuals’ decision to strike or not strike,” Jones said in the statement. “We will work to correct this misunderstanding immediately. Again, we are deeply apologetic for this misunderstanding.”

Kolko & Casey P.C., the law firm that works with the school district, goes into further detail for educators on H-1B and J-1 visas on their website in the event of a labor strike.