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TESOL Joins Over 800 Organizations in Opposition to Ban on J-1 Visas in the United States

by David Cutler | 07/02/2020
TESOL International Association has joined 872 other non-profit organizations, sponsors, and private businesses in opposition to the U.S. president's recent ban on J-1 visas. These visa recipients take part in the Exchange Visitor Program, which brings thousands of participants to the United States to learn about U.S. culture, share their knowledge, and contribute to their local economy. Many Exchange Visitor Program participants are English learners, researchers, and teachers.

The impact on the international exchange community from the COVID-19 pandemic alone is projected to result in losses to our economy of more than $233 million and nearly 7,000 American jobs. This ban will very likely lead to an increase in layoffs among program sponsors and their host partners in the United States, which will have a negative ripple effect throughout our economy.

Furthermore, the Exchange Visitor Program is an important cultural exchange program, not a work program. A vast majority of Exchange Visitor Program participants cite cultural exchange as the primary factor for taking part in the program. Seventy-five percent of cultural exchange participants, on average, developed a more positive opinion of the United States after their program experience. Many become community, business, and political leaders when they return home. Their understanding and affinity for the United States supports our diplomatic efforts worldwide.

TESOL urges the president to reverse this decision and allow J-1 visas to be granted to all Exchange Visitor Program participants. 

Read the full letter here