WASHINGTON - A D.C. teacher facing deportation will return to the classroom after her case was reopened by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), her school announced Monday.
Min Wang, a Chinese teacher at Georgetown Day School, learned last week that she was ordered to leave the country after two visa applications she applied for were denied. This came after the H-1B visa that allowed her to work in the United States had expired.
Kevin Barr, the associate head of school at Georgetown Day School, said in an email to the school community that Wang can teach while her case is re-examined by immigration authorities.
"Dear Parents and Students,
"I write with good, albeit head spinning, news. Min Wang's case has been reopened by USCIS. Although we do not know what this means for the long run, and won't until a new decision comes down, while the case is pending, Min has the legal right to return to work. We do not know why the case has been reopened, and it would be foolish to speculate, but GDS and Min are grateful for all the support that you and your children have shown in this trying situation. You are probably aware that two of our students took it upon themselves to start a petition online through the website MoveOn.org and more than a few of you reached out to your contacts in the government and the media.
"That being said, now that the case has been reopened, we have been advised that more media attention could well be counterproductive, and I would ask that those of you who are so inclined would hold off, until further notice. Please know, we are continuing to work this case and are not simply in waiting mode.
"Min will return to work tomorrow and is eager to do so. She will be here for parent/teacher conferences on Thursday and Friday, as well, and looks forward to sharing her insights regarding your children's progress.
"Again, thank you for your support."
Wang told FOX 5 that she applied for the EB-1 visa, which is known as the "Einstein visa." This program is available to those who demonstrate extraordinary ability in their field such as the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. This is the same visa that allowed first lady Melania Trump to gain legal residency. Wang said she and her immigration attorney were confident that she had met the criteria, but USCIS disagreed.
Wang is a published author and has taught at Harvard University, Swarthmore College and the University of North Dakota, where she started the first online Chinese language program in the state. After earning her a doctoral degree, she got her post-doctorate from Harvard.
They started a petition on change.org titled "Visa For Our Chinese Teacher, Min Wang." As of Tuesday night, the petition already had several hundred signatures.
Two Georgetown Day School students, Viraj Prakash and Wes Cooper, started an online petition on change.org for their teacher.
"Dr. Wang has been one of the most phenomenal teachers I have had by far," Prakash said.
The students know it might not help, but they wanted to do something to show support for their teacher.
"It means the whole world to me," Wang said. "Which means what I have been doing is very meaningful."
Wang says she has others fighting on her behalf as well, from educators in D.C. to congressional leaders in North Dakota.
"It gives me some hope because I feel terrible," she said. "This is just a little silver lining here."