In April, the White House signed the “Presidential Executive Order on Buy American and Hire American”.
According to news reports, the Trump administration is currently working to end the US Dept of State’s Exchange Visitor Programs, which include Camp Counselor, Intern/Trainee, Summer Work and Travel and Au Pair programs as part of this “initiative”.
These programs bring young people from abroad to travel, work and study in the USA. While in the USA, these young people learn about American culture and experience the American way of life as well as share their culture with local communities. These young people also supplement the American workforce during peak business seasons. These cultural exchange programs serve to build greater understanding of this country around the world. They are not labor programs and they do not undermine the interests of American workers.
There is an an attempt within the Trump administration to bypass the democratic process in eliminating these programs which is highly worrying. Changing programs that boost the US economy and serve as important tools in US foreign diplomacy.
I spent many years running summer camps. We hired on average 60 international students on J-1 Camp Counselor visas. one of the main reasons this number was 60, not 50, 40 or 30 was that we would get to April and we would have exhausted all our American pool of candidates. Simply put, without these J-1 Exchange Visitors, I would have had to close cabins and not run certain programs that required a high level of skill. The result of this would be a significant decrease in revenue and a loss of program quality for American children.
There are hundreds of Summer Camps that will be left in this situation should the Camp Counselor program be eliminated. This is not good for the economy or the American people.
IENA is committed to the world learning from and sharing with each other through international exchange programs.
Here is how you can help:
- The ACA and Sponsors have created a tool that will easily allow you to send a letter to President Trump and connect you with Senators and Congressional Representatives in your area. This is a pre-written letter but is editable by you: TAKE ACTION NOW!
- Call your representitives in Washington, D.C.
- Join Americans for Cultural Exchange – a broad coalition in support of international exchange programs – and urge your representatives to take action.
The link below outlines more information as well as provides you with more tools for outreach and action
We would also strongly suggest reaching out to your contacts. You never know where political allies in high places may be uncovered.