The J-2 program has been in place since 1986, but the laws and rules that it provides to prospective students are still in effect, according to a letter sent by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) to a group of more than 400 law schools this week.
The letter is the latest in a long series of moves that the OCR has taken to address what critics call the “Jimmy Crow” of the U-2 visa program.
The Obama administration announced in March that it would eliminate the “J-1” visas, a program that allows the U.-2 family to live and work in the United States without being subject to the immigration laws.
The program has also been under fire for its impact on minorities and students of color.
In March, OCR launched a public-records request to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to learn about how many students of African descent have been impacted by the program, including how many of those students have been unable to obtain a job in the U,S.
The agency also released a list of students of Asian descent who have been stopped from attending law school or graduating with degrees after the U visas expired.
But the letter from OCR does not specifically address the J1 visas, which have been in effect since 1986.
“The program that the Department provides to the J2 students does not cover the J4, J5, or J6 visas,” the letter reads.
“Although the Department has determined that the J3, J4 and J5 visas should not be impacted, it is also important to note that students of a particular racial group may be eligible for J2, J3 and J4 visas under certain circumstances.”
The OCR’s letter does note that it will continue to provide assistance to J2 and J3 students, but said that the agency would not “continue to issue new visas or apply for new J2 visas for J3 or J4 students” until the J6 visa is replaced with a J1.
The law school community is already calling for the removal of the “jungle” immigration system, where students of any race or national origin are allowed to attend law school and receive degrees without the threat of deportation.
The OCP letter does not say that the program should be eliminated, but it does call for a review of the programs requirements.
“As we have already made clear, our goal is not to replace the existing program but to ensure that all students of all backgrounds are treated equally,” the OCP wrote.
“If a student of a different race or ethnicity applies for a J2 visa, we encourage the university to consider how to accommodate their request, and we will work with them as appropriate.”
OCR did not immediately respond to a request for comment.