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Congresswoman Stacey E. Plaskett Issues Statement Concerning Reported Denial of Visa Extension for Several Foreign National Teachers in The Virgin Islands


Date: Aug. 8, 2019
Location: Washington, DC

Congresswoman Stacey E. Plaskett released the following statement regarding potential denial of visa extension for several foreign teachers participating in the Exchange Visitor Program:

"Recently my office was contacted by concerned teachers who's J1 Visas as visiting teachers had not been extended. These teachers were recruited by the Virgin Islands Department of Education to work and educate the children of the Virgin Islands, in areas of Math, Science, Library Science, Special Education, etc. The teachers in question have been working for several years and were requesting extensions.

"With the upcoming school year fast approaching, the Virgin Islands cannot afford to lose any of its teachers. It is incumbent upon all of us to push our children forward - whether that is supporting access to infrastructure materials, funding, or making sure there are enough teachers for the classrooms. Due to privacy issues we cannot get into specifics for the denial in these cases, the State Department has always been strict and had clear requirements and deadlines for submission of materials from Visa holders and their sponsors. We know that these teachers play a vital role in the current educational landscape and we are doing whatever is possible to support them. As these visas are also never guaranteed we are offering our support the Department of Education with additional programs to augment our teaching abilities.

"Schools in the Virgin Islands are scheduled to open on September 3rd and there have already been reports that one high school may not open on time due to structural challenges. It is important to note that there is no doubt that the teachers of the Virgin Islands are committed to creating a more exciting, satisfying teaching environment for our children. We must all be concerned with the issues surrounding the timely opening of the schools in the Virgin Islands, and my office has reached out to the Virgin Islands Department of Education to see how we can help and support our children through these challenging issues."