InterExchange Statement on the Review and Potential Elimination of J-1 Exchange Programs

2 minutes

We are deeply troubled by recent news reports that the Trump administration is considering eliminating U.S. Department of State J-1 Exchange Visitor Programs – including the Summer Work Travel, Camp Counselor, Intern, Trainee, and Au Pair programs. These valuable cultural exchange programs, which InterExchange has proudly administered for nearly 50 years, bring university students and young professionals from abroad to the U.S. to study, work, live with Americans families, act as camp counselors, and travel our great country. While in America, these young people have the opportunity to improve their English skills, learn about American ways of life, share their culture with host communities, supplement the American workforce during peak business seasons, and provide valuable child care for American working families.

These cultural exchange programs are privately funded and come at no cost to the taxpayer. They are a key tool of U.S. foreign policy that serves to build greater understanding of the American people, culture, and values around the world. They are not pathways for immigration or labor programs, and the notion that they undermine the interests of U.S. workers is simply untrue.

Eliminating J-1 exchange programs is not just bad foreign policy; it is bad for America and for Americans. This action would cause significant harm to our nation’s public diplomacy efforts, as well as to the American economy. Local, seasonal businesses and communities that host J-1 participants would be economically devastated by the loss of these programs. American working families would lose a valued and culturally-diverse source of child care. American companies would lose the ability to host and attract international talent, and create new business opportunities abroad. And American summer campers would lose beloved counselors from all over the world.

Here’s how you can make a difference and save these valuable cultural exchange programs:

  • Call your representatives in Washington, D.C., and urge them to contact the White House to stop the elimination of these programs. Find phone numbers for your Members of Congress and use these talking points to make these incredibly important calls. Please encourage your family, friends, and colleagues to do the same.

  • Ask your CEO or senior leaders at your workplace to call their personal contacts at the White House, Department of State, and Congress, or this White House general contact:

  • Join Americans for Cultural Exchange – a broad coalition in support of international exchange programs – and urge your representatives to take action.

I believe intrinsically in the good that comes from J-1 exchange programs – in support of InterExchange’s mission and on behalf of our country. I know there are many across the U.S. who share that belief. We do not take this challenge lightly, but believe strongly that J-1 programs have created countless friends around the world that contribute to peace, economic development, and greater mutual understanding between nations.

Christine La Monica-Lunn President and CEO

Christine La Monica-Lunn Christine La Monica-Lunn

Christine is the President and CEO of InterExchange.

U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
Exclusive partner of the Erasmus Student Network for J-1 Visa sponsorship of internships in the U.S.
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Generation Study Abroad
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation