Almost a decade ago, the New York City Board of Education aggressively recruited a group of experienced teachers largely from Caribbean nations. These skilled professionals were enticed to come to the United States with the clear understanding of a number of commitments. In fact, it was the promises of New York State teacher certification, Master’s degrees, housing assistance and ultimately, a pathway to permanent United States residency for themselves and their nuclear families, which prompted them to uproot themselves and their families to teach in our public schools. By and large, although many of these teachers remain in our school system, teaching our children, these promises were never kept.
These teachers have remained in our school system, teaching in license areas where there are teacher shortages, often in low-income, low-performing schools. Their experience with the immigration process has been riddled with mismanagement, saddling them with prohibitive legal fees and leaving them under constant threat of termination and deportation.