On June 22, 2020, the White House issued a proclamation suspending some categories of J-1 visas effective June 24 through December 31, 2020, with the possibility of continuation. As the economy begins to reopen, this suspension will only hurt our nation’s businesses and local communities further. The impact on the international exchange community from the pandemic alone is projected to result in losses to our economy of more than $233 million and nearly 7,000 American jobs.
In response, the Alliance for International Exchange launched the #SaveJ1 Campaign – an effort to raise awareness about the J-1 inclusion in the proclamation, highlight reasons for its exemption, and to recommend meaningful exceptions to the proclamation to enable these programs to continue.
“The Alliance for International Exchange opposes the inclusion of the J-1 Exchange Visitor programs in the recent Presidential proclamation regarding immigration,” said Ilir Zherka, Executive Director. “These international exchange programs help American families, while enabling American host businesses to remain open year-round. They do not displace American workers, and, in fact, contribute more than $1.2 billion to the United States economy. These important cultural exchange programs have strong, bipartisan support. The Alliance will continue working to protect these critical programs.”
Aside from the economic benefits of the J-1 Exchange Visitor program, the proclamation hurts American diplomacy as well. Many international exchange participants become community, business, and political leaders when they return home. 75% of cultural exchange participants, on average, developed a more positive opinion of the U.S. in general after their program experience.
The Alliance for International Exchange, of which Cenet is a member, is an association dedicated to promoting the growth and impact of exchange programs. For more information on advocacy efforts to promote international exchange programs, please visit the Alliance for International Exchange website: https://www.alliance-exchange.org/about/