We need your help today to protect our educational and cultural exchange programs against significant restrictions.
Multiple news sources, including the Wall Street Journal, are reporting that the Trump administration is considering a plan to significantly reduce or eliminate a majority of privately-funded J-1 Exchange Visitor Programs, including J-1 Intern and Trainee programs.
We believe this effort is both misguided and short-sighted. Elimination of these programs would have a negative impact on local communities, U.S. businesses, and families nationwide, while dramatically weakening our diplomacy efforts. Unfortunately, despite widespread bi-partisan support for these programs, they remain at risk.
That’s why we need your help and we need it this week.
Every year, Cultural Vistas, through its role as a J-1 Visa sponsor, helps bring talented and motivated student interns and trainees from over 130 countries into American businesses, NGOs, academic institutions, and local communities in all 50 states. During their time here, many make lifelong friends and professional connections, which benefit countless U.S. communities and organizations for years to come.
These privately-funded educational and cultural exchanges are an important tool for building a deeper, authentic understanding of American values, our culture, our people, and business practices. They also help ensure that U.S. organizations can deliver the training needed to launch new ventures, connect with new markets, and maintain global competitiveness.
For more than 75 years, professional, academic, and cultural exchange programs have been a proven and cost-effective public diplomacy tool that has strengthened relationships and ties between Americans and the world. Just last month, over 160 former Ambassadors from both Republican and Democratic administrations, authored a letter recognizing the importance of these programs.
‘Exchange programs enhance U.S. national security and prosperity by building productive partnerships, mutual understanding, and personal connections that help us address critical global issues including strengthening the world economy and combating terrorism. In the countries where we have served, we have seen exchange programs help draw emerging political leaders closer to the United States, provide international scholars with critical information and contacts they need in America, and strengthen the appreciation of our country by exposing hundreds of thousands of people to our culture. These are the soft-power results that complemented our direct diplomacy efforts in countries that are critical to our national security.’
To ensure our ability to continue these exchange programs, it is essential that elected officials (find them here) and the administration are aware of the impact and value these programs have made in your life, your community, and your organization.
Here’s how you can make a difference and protect these valuable exchange programs:
- Write your U.S. Senators and Representatives using this link.
- Call the Administration and voice your opposition to these cuts.
- White House Comment Line: (202) 456-1111
- White House, Office of Public Liaison: (202) 456-6493
- State Department Operations Center: (202) 647-1512
- Share this action alert with relevant staff in your organization working on immigration and legislative issues.
- Visit our advocacy page for updates and additional resources on how to speak up for exchanges
Please forward this action alert to your family, friends and colleagues and encourage them to help support international exchanges.
Thank you for your support.