Immigration Law

Visa Snafu Forces Teacher to Leave USA

[Nutshell: This man's work visa was approved and renewed five times.  Nothing changed in the law or his qualifications.  His sixth renewal was denied for no reason.  Welcome to my world.]

"Eight years ago, Canadian Jim Tibbatts received immigration status that allowed him to teach in Bluegrass Community and Technical College's automotive collision repair program.  The status, known as TN, allows citizens of Canada and Mexico to work in the United States in prearranged business activities.  Tibbatts' status has been renewed five times since he was first granted it.  But when Tibbatts, 62, an assistant professor and coordinator of the BCTC Collision Repair Technology program, went to the border earlier this month to renew his TN status, his request was denied.  Tibbatts said he and his wife must leave the United States by Sept. 7.  They have had to sell their home, and he said they face an uncertain future in Canada. ... Tibbatts said he was told at the border that his diploma in education from the University of Western Ontario, which had sufficed in the past, did not meet the criteria for TN status.  Tibbatts said the law hadn't changed since he had been getting approvals for the TN status, just the interpretations of the officials at the border.  Kris Grogan, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said he could not discuss individual cases.  Federal requirements for the TN status for teachers call for a bachelor's degree and don't address the issue of equivalents." - Valarie Honeycutt Spears, Lexington Herald-Leader, July 28, 2013.