Justice for the Trafficked Garland ISD Teachers!
What is the injustice?
- From 2005-2012, almost 300 foreign-hire teachers, 70 of whom Filipinos, were recruited by the Garland ISD. Many of them are victims of labor trafficking as exemplified by:
- Forced to pay in excess of $15,000 in recruitment and legal processing fees
- False promise of green cards
- There were no jobs available upon arrival in North Texas as required by H1B visa policy resulting to teachers having to apply for jobs for several months
- Teachers forced to work in part-time positions for over a year in violation of the job contract. Some were not employed at all, forcing them to look for employment outside GISD or go back to their home country
- 8-12 teachers forced to live in Victor Leos’ stepson Paul Reudiger’s 3-bedroom house in Garland charged for $2,400/month, which was excessively higher than the market rate
- Victor Leos, the GISD Human Resource Executive Director, was convicted of committing visa fraud, where he was sentenced for only 2 years in federal prison.
- After 13 years of service, some of the teachers are now suffering from revocation of status, unemployment, financial hardship, family separation, and health problems.
- In a letter from the US Assistant Attorney (Department of Justice), all visa filings done by or through Leos will be revoked.
- Despite teachers meeting with Garland ISD in public and private, the School District has not acknowledged the crime committed against teachers and has not offered any concrete support.
|What the teachers have done||What Garland ISD has done|
|Complied with all the steps as required by GISD representatives and legal counsel during the recruitment process||Failed to ensure that the recruitment and hiring of foreign teachers was compliant with federal law|
|Adhered to GISD rules, policies, and guidance during employment||Neglected to provide proper guidance while withholding information on potential risks and impacts of the visa fraud on the teachers|
|Pled repeatedly to meet with Human Resources officers to discuss and ask for GISD’s assistance on immigration and employment issues||Reluctantly met with the teachers individually, not collectively (divide and conquer tactics)
Instructed teachers to withhold information from other teachers regarding the revocation of immigration status
Misled a teacher to sign a resignation form not in the best interest of the employee
Did not provide options available to the affected teachers
Berated and blamed teachers stating that they brought the situation upon themselves
Neglected to inform the teachers of their rights as victims of visa fraud and trafficking and ways to protect themselves and their families
Stated “[GISD] is an entity, and we have to protect ourselves”
Stated “the law is the law, and the law is not sympathetic”
|Spoke at Board of Trustees meetings to seek support and resolution||Ignored the teachers by not reaching out to address their concerns|
|Sought and continue to seek accountability for the visa fraud and trafficking||Continuously disassociates and distances itself from the visa fraud and trafficking by pointing to one person, Victor Leos.
Escaped responsibility for allowing Leos to commit the crime for several years
How are you impacted by this injustice?
- As a GISD foreign-hire teacher, you were exploited and forced to leave GISD.
- As a GISD foreign-hire teacher, you are potentially in danger of having your immigration status revoked.
- As teacher, you could potentially lose a colleague.
- As a student and parent, you have lost and could potentially lose good teachers.
- As a taxpayer, your hard-earned money was used in the visa fraud involving GISD.
What does justice look like?
- As victims, for the affected teachers and their families to obtain protection from deportation, immigration relief and legal status, and equal employment opportunity.
- For all perpetrators in the US and the Philippines to be held accountable.
- For GISD to:
- Publicly acknowledge that the affected teachers are victims of crime and had no participation in the visa fraud.
- Dialogue with the affected teachers collectively regarding concrete support and assistance.
- Fully disclose their hiring policy of foreign teachers, including financial considerations and decisions.
How can you support?
- Sign the petition: tinyurl.com/GISDpetition
- Donate: tinyurl.com/donateGarlandteachers
- Join the Justice for Trafficked Garland ISD Teachers Task Force: tinyurl.com/joinTaskForce