The most recent changes to Immigration Law in the US were enacted in 2013. It is anticipated that the US Department of State will again consider J-1 Visa Cultural Exchange regulations in 2016. Until then, consider the 2013 changes:
Key Messages: Senate Bill
S. 744 - The Senate Immigration Reform Bill was passed with amendments that will help to mitigate the challenge to camp cultural exchange that was in the original text of the bill. While we would have prefered that camp cultural exchange programs were simply eliminated from the bill altogether, the two amendments help to ensure the future of camp cultural exchange.
The Bill, as amended and passed includes:
1. Senator Angus King of Maine sponsored Amendment 1527. This amendment would specifically exclude cultural exchange visitors from Subtitle F, and thus ensures that cultural exchange visitors are not defined as workers. Instead, a new Subtitle I is presented which would address the issues of protecting the participant from human trafficking. Read all of the details here.
2. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin sponsored Amendment 1483. This amendment would reduce the Summer Work Travel fee from $500 to $100, and would eliminate the language that bars the participant from paying the fee. Read all of the details here.
What Happens Next?
Next, the U.S. House of Representatives considers their own Immigration Reform Bill. Predictions are that the currently passed Senate Bill will not pass unchanged through the House of Representatives. If no bill is passed by both houses of Congress, then the camp cultural exchange program continues unchanged. If the House of Representatives passes a version of the bill, then the House and Senate work together to agree upon one compromise bill. Again, predictions are not optimistic that any agreement will occur in the near future.
What You Can Do Today!
- Continue to help us collect testimonials on the value of the Camp Cultural Exchange program. Simply share your stories (and encourage others to do so too) on our Testimonials Page.
- Join the conversation on Twitter, using #CampCulturalExchange
Thank you for your support! If you have any questions, contact the ACA Public Policy Office at publicpolicy@ACAcamps.org or 800-428-2267.