From Teacher to Homeless

During the school year 2012–2013 I was pursuing permanent residence as I was an H1B holder employed by a Unified School District in the Sacramento area. In March of 2013 USCIS noticed that my I-94 had expired in September of 2012, for this reason USCIS requested a letter from my employer confirming my continued employment. The district chose to place me in an unpaid leave. The Assistant Superintendent told me to procure my own new I-94.

When I was hired in August of 2009 my employer did not give me a copy of the Labor Condition Application (LCA) nor the card that needs to be attached to my passport. In June 2013, I was told I could report the district to the Department of Labor. I did. Within days the HR Assistant Superintendent was fired and so was the Director of HR who did not have the appropriate credentials for the job she was performing. Due to wording in their contract they remained in their position from July 23rd to September 30th 2013.

The DOL ruled that my employer had to pay me back wages because they did not abide the LCA of 2009 when they placed me as a substitute teacher during the school year 2010–2011 and as a part time employee during 2011–2012 school year.

By September 2012 I had attained tenure. Due to the incompetence of my employers HR, my visa was left to expire. I received a partial payment for the back wages. The employer never paid me for the medical benefits, lawyer fees and other miscellaneous. The employer took almost $20,000 from the back wages total sum to pay taxes. According to IRS they never paid the appropriate taxes. The employer never amended the W-2 for the years I had been underpaid (2010, 2011, and 2012) The W-2 for the year 2013 indicates I was paid the initial salary of a superintendent. Nothing suggests that the money was wages owed to me.

Confronted with DOL’s mandate, the employer wrote a letter indicating that in the best interest of the district they would apply for new visa. By then the three year ban established by USCIS was in progress. Considering the quagmire aspect of the situation I felt relief when USCIS sent the new visa to be processed in the US Consulate of my country of origin. The district was to request an unlawful stay waiver to USCIS and pay my round trip ticket to my birth country as part of their office expense. They never did it.

I reported my employer to several State and Federal agencies as my daughter and I continued to suffer more retaliation. The expressions “Miscommunication, Logistical Error and Human Mistake” are phrases our family of four laughs hollowly about when we read that the employer has retired or removed an individual who had direct contact with my paperwork.

My native land celebrates Mother’s Day and Independence Day on May 15th. Personally, it has become the day I became dependent of the goodwill of many. You will see me standing in line waiting for services of food banks, churches and health clinics. Currently, we are homeless. A friend turned foe gave us roof and that story is to be continued.

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