Save J-1 Exchange Visitor Programs
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The Trump administration is considering eliminating five valuable J1 cultural exchange programs: Summer Work Travel, Intern, Trainee, Camp Counselor, and Au Pair. We believe this is a grave mistake—elimination of these programs would hurt our public diplomacy efforts and have a negative impact on businesses, families, and communities in the United States.
For over 50 years, the State Department’s J-1 Exchange Visitor Program has enabled international college students and young professionals to live temporarily in the United States so that they may interact with Americans and learn our culture. The purpose is to help create meaningful relationships rooted in mutual understanding.
Today, America’s global relationships are being tested. Confidence in the United States has fallen worldwide, while we continue to face obstacles to global peace and prosperity. Cultural exchange programs enhance America’s diplomatic success by improving the perception of the United States by average people and future leaders. In fact, the State Department reports that one in three current world leaders have participated in international exchange programs in the United States, a number that promises to grow.
J1 programs also add significantly to the U.S. economy. They support seasonal businesses in tourist, vacation, and resort communities. They support American working families by providing a culturally-enriching child care option. They bring counselors from all over the world to interact with young American campers. They bring future business leaders to intern and train with American companies, creating new international partnerships and supporting American business development abroad.
If these exchange programs are eliminated or significantly altered, it will be a huge economic blow to thousands of American businesses and the U.S. economy will take a substantial hit. It’s estimated that J-1 visa holders in the Summer Work Travel program alone contribute more than $500 million into the economy each year.
We ask that you raise your voice to express your support for these valuable programs. J1 exchanges not only support the American economy and its success globally; they help form genuine connections that are vital to building a more peaceful global community.
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