The implementation of this executive order was assigned to a White House committee chaired by Stephen Miller. Governmental agencies working with this committee include the Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Labor, Commerce Department, and Office of Management and Budget.
Friday,Tom Rosenberg, the President/CEO of the American Camp Association (ACA) emailed Camp Directors everywhere to call our attention to the way things are unfolding:
Camp Arrowhead has used the visa sponsor program Camp America since the 1970's. We participate in the Camp Counselor AND Summer Work Travel programs. Further limiting the number of VISAS awarded or even ending the program would affect us DRAMATICALLY. Our Camp America staff add to the diversity and richness of our program but they also satisfy literal program needs; They help us fill ALL of our staff openings so that we can run a full camp.
So How Can You Help??
- Learn more about the J-1 Visa Programs
- Check out the Department of State's website.
- Read through some FAQ's below that the ACA has compiled.
- Consider these talking points on the necessity and value of the J-1 Visas for camps
- Contact President Trump, your Senators, and Congressional Representatives.
- The ACA & the Visa Sponsors they work with have created a tool to make this quite simple. They have included an editable pre-written letter . WRITE THEM NOW.
- The ACA has even posted samples of some more detailed letters if you would prefer to write your own.
- Email the American Camp Association your testimonials in support of Camp Cultural Exchange: j1visa@ACAcamps.org
Frequently Asked Questions about the J-1 Camp Counselor and Summer Work Travel Programs
Camp Counselors are participants placed in positions giving direct supervision to campers. Those positions could be group/unit staff positions or program staff positions. SWT participants are in support positions in camp, such as the kitchen. They do not supervise campers. Placement agencies may term SWT participant positions with titles such as “Support Staff,” Camp Power,” etc.
Who regulates these programs and how does my placement agency fit in?
Both Camp Counselor and Summer Work Travel are part of the J-1 visa program for cultural exchange. They are regulated and monitored by U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The State Department designates organizations to be visa sponsors who actually help implement the program. Many of the placement agencies are visa sponsors. See J1visa.state.gov/basics for more complete program information.
How many of these international participants are placed in camp?
Almost 23,000 international participants are placed through the Camp Counselor program every year and more than 5,000 in SWT camp positions.
What is an executive order?
An executive order is a directive handed down from a president or governor without involvement from the legislative or judicial branches. Executive orders can only be given to federal or state agencies like the Department of Homeland Security or the State Department and are subject to revocation or revision by a subsequent President.
What can I do to help?
- Stay informed.
- Be ready to act when called upon to reach out to decision makers in government with appropriate messages, which ACA will share with you if and when this is needed. We are working on a multi-level engagement strategy right now, in conjunction with our allies in this effort.
- Share with our ACA Government Affairs team the contact information of people in your camp community who have personal relationships with relevant decision makers, like members of Congress, members of the Trump Administration, or others in positions to influence the policymaking of this Administration. Sam Hirt works for ACA with Public Policy Issues: 765-346-3391 & shirt@ACAcamps.org There are many stages to our strategy and potential contacts are very helpful. We will provide talking points and direction as appropriate.
Can I provide stories and testimonials in support of these programs?
Yes, please do. You can send them to ACA. Email them to j1visa@ACAcamps.org.
How does this impact this year's foreign staff who are traveling in the US after leaving my camp?
There is no impact on the current program.
How does this impact camp's planning for international participants next season?
Placement agencies are moving forward with the planning and recruitment for programs for next season to meet camp needs. They can best answer immediate concerns. They and ACA will keep camps informed of any changes.