Dozens of NYC Caribbean-Born Teachers Still Awaiting Green Cards

SANDALS Resorts (300 x 250)

By Felicia Persaud

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Feb. 15, 2013: Over sixteen dozen Caribbean-born teachers, recruited by the New York City Board of Education ten years ago to teach in public schools in the Big Apple, are still in legal limbo in the system – unable to secure green cards, News Americas Now has learned.

According to Kira Shepherd, of The Black Institute, while some 500 Caribbean teachers recruited by NYC have finally secured permanent residency status following more than a decade of waiting, 200 more are still awaiting the adjustment of status.

Most are from Jamaica – some 111 – followed by 39 from Guyana and 20 from Trinidad & Tobago. Thirteen are from the Dominican Republic; 8 from Barbados; 6 from St. Lucia; 3 from St. Vincent & the Grenadines and one each from the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Dominica.

Yasmin Bailey-Stewart, a Jamaican-born teacher in a Brooklyn, NY school, is one of several whose papers are in process mode. She is waiting on her green card after selling everything and moving to the U.S. with a H1-B visa after being recruited in her native land.

Bailey-Stewart told NAN it’s a nightmare she lives daily, especially because of the toll the immigration woes has had on her son. He has now aged out of the immigration sponsorship category because of the lengthy delay in his mother securing a green card. As a result, his only option now is to obtain residency through a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

“It has been a horror story for us as middle class professionals,” said Bailey-Stewart. “You are made criminal because of the situation you are forced into and some teachers have even gotten fired leaving them now undocumented in the system as well and completely dependent on friends and family for support.”
Data provided to NAN from the Black Institute and culled from them through the Board of Ed. shows 213 teachers are now waiting on their green cards.

However, Caribbean teachers make up 61.5 percent of all teachers who have achieved permanent residency to date.

The NYC Board of Education did not respond to NAN’s requests for comments as of press time, Thursday, Feb. 14th. The attorney handling the cases in an email to NAN said the issue is “a national problem with processing times for permanent residence.”

“Hopefully, this will be corrected with the passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform legislation later this Spring,” she added.