Immigration complications for faculty

Countless cultural and international backgrounds make up Northwest’s population. For several international faculty members, recent complications with the immigration process have caused turmoil for them and their families.

Some international faculty have experienced problems with the immigration process and have come together with Northwest’s administration to look for solutions.

Multiple international faculty members gathered to discuss the problems that they have had with the immigration process. The problems these faculty members have faced are different with each individual’s case.

After seeing so many problems with the immigration process, these faculty have reached out to the University’s administration to find solutions to make the process easier for future international faculty.

The faculty that came forward with their concerns about the immigration problems are stuck in the process of obtaining the proper immigration status or are being delayed from coming back to the U.S. There is one faculty member who is seeing delays in his arrival back to the U.S.

Associate professor and Faculty Senate President Jenny Rytting said associate professor Nigel Hoilett left for an emergency trip to Jamaica to renew a visa. While there, he had some delays in the immigration process in order for him to come back to the U.S. The specific reason for his delay is unknown.

Rytting presented difficulties that not only Hoilett had, but also other international faculty to the Board of Regents Oct. 23.

In one case involving an international faculty member, their immigration paperwork was finished, but the rest of the family did not have paperwork finished.

“And so, family members are in a bind, right, and don’t have the right kind of visa,” Rytting said.

Rytting said associate professor José Palacios Perez’s paperwork is being redone due to complications with the immigration process. This will be the fourth time in the past six years he has been at Northwest.

Palacios mentioned that his first two immigration processes were not filed with the immigration authorities because of some mistakes made by the University. The first three to four years of his process, nothing happened and resulted in the University having to redo Palacios’s paperwork.

Palacios attended a focus group Nov. 4 that included other international faculty members and administration members. Palacios said many of the international faculty’s concerns were brought to the administration’s attention, but no real solutions or plans of action were discussed.

Palacios said international faculty can not apply for residency by themselves. He said the University has to apply for residency for them, which can be problematic for the international faculty and their families.

“It’s important to talk about the human aspect, not only the legal aspect that’s affecting people,” Palacios said.

Palacios said some of the international faculty were hiring their own lawyers to help handle some of the problems that they have been having with the immigration process.

These international faculty have to pay for these lawyers out of their own pockets and even with a lawyer, the faculty have to wait on the University to gather their paperwork before any further steps can be taken.

Director of Human Resources Krista Barcus said the administration looks forward to partnering with the international faculty.

“The Immigration Process Focus Group went very well. We look forward to improving processes to better serve our employees who go through the immigration process,” Barcus said after the focus group.

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