Is Trump reducing cultural exchange programs?

Is Trump reducing cultural exchange programs?

US President Donald Trump’s administration is considering reducing visas for U.S. cultural and work exchange programs, including au pairs and summer workers, people familiar with the administration’s planning said.

The Wall Street Journal said the U.S. government was eyeing “major reductions” for five of the employment-based cultural exchange visas in the J-1 visa program, citing unnamed sources.

"The administration has concerns” about all of the visas that allow for guest workers. But there are particular programs that need more attention because of their size, their effect on the U.S. labor market, and because a significant number of people overstay their visas,” the director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies Jessica Vaughan said.

People familiar with the conversations said the review includes the summer work-travel program, which brings more than 100,000 students to the U.S. each summer, often stationed in tourist destinations such as beach resorts and national parks. It also includes the smaller au pair program, through which foreigners live in American homes and provide child care as well as take classes and participate in intercultural exchanges with their host families. Other programs under discussion include those for camp counselors, interns and trainees.

A U.S. State Department fact sheet says the J-1 visa program has 15 categories that provide “opportunities for around 300,000 foreign visitors per year to experience U.S. society and culture.

A State Department official declined to comment on the debate and referred questions to the White House. “Presently, we continue to implement the J-1 visa programs at the same levels we have for the past few years, and we appreciate the support that American businesses have shown for the program and its value to their local communities,” the official said.

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