Another legislative threat to international support staff for summer camps looms on the horizon with no rhyme or reason.
Congressman Ed Royce of California is Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Back in the fall he introduced H.R. 3344, a laudable bill designed to address human trafficking. J-1 programs were specifically excluded from it. The most recent version, however, firmly includes draconian provisions for J-1 summer work travel programs that hearken back to last year’s Senate immigration reform bill, now dormant. If it moves forward as written, it will render international support staff for summer camps a thing of the past.
These provisions include a prohibition of program fees to applicants, the definition of J-1 sponsors as foreign labor contractors, and required registration with the Department of Homeland Security. The program fee prohibition alone would sink the program as financially untenable.
We narrowly missed a mark-up scheduled for May 9th, giving us some weeks to gather resources in order to combat this unfortunate, unnecessary, and misguided version. Please be at the ready to lend your advocacy with your Congressional representative either through “point and click” support or originally drafted letters of concern. The American Camp Association is by all accounts poised to join the fray and facilitate action.
As I have said many times, reason must prevail as these programs have too much public diplomacy impact to be considered fragile pawns in politicized legislation. Thanks to you it will prevail again!