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Act to Preserve International Cultural Exchange Programs in Camps — Senate Considering Legislation Now!
Download a copy of our Key Messages about S.744 — the Senate Immigration Reform Bill.
Threat to Camp Cultural Exchange Programs
As you may be aware, Congress is currently considering legislation that would overhaul our immigration system. We have been watching the debate unfold, and it has come to our attention that the International Cultural Exchange Program that provides international camp counselors and support staff to camps across the country may be in jeopardy if provisions currently under consideration are swept up in this reform. While there is no impact on this summer, future summers would be impacted if the bill passes as currently under consideration.
A section of S.744, the Senate immigration bill, regarding “the prevention of trafficking of persons” labels international camp staff and other exchange visitors as “workers,” not as the cultural exchange participants they are — and have been since the inception of the program. If this change is made, it would:
- Endanger the future of this important cultural exchange program — perhaps threatening its viability entirely.
- Make participation significantly more expensive for camps by creating new government programmatic fees.
- Create more regulatory complexity and confusion for camps by transferring a portion of the program's authority from the Department of State to the Department of Homeland Security.
- Subtitle F — Prevention of Trafficking in Persons and Abuses Involving Workers Recruited Abroad. Sec. 3601. Definitions (page 1507, 6-8)
- Current Language in Draft Bill: (4) WORKER. — the term “worker” means an individual or exchange visitor who is the subject of foreign labor contracting activity.
- Sec. 4407. Summer Work Travel Visa Exchange Program Fee (pages 1743, 22-25 through 1744, 1-10)
Current Language: (e) J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program Fee. — (1) IN GENERAL. — In addition to the fees authorized under subsection (a), the Secretary of State shall collect from designated program sponsors, a $500 fee for each nonimmigrant entering under the Summer Work Travel program conducted by the Secretary of State pursuant to the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998 (division G of Public Law 105–277; 112 Stat. 2681–761). Fees collected under this subsection shall be deposited into the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Trust Fund established under section 6(a)(1) of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.
Dowload a copy of our Key Messages on S.744 to review the details of the impact of this language on camp cultural exchange programs.
- Send an e-mail to your Senators voicing your support for cultural exchange programs and asking for changes in S.744. Advocacy is quick and easy. Advocate today!
- 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.