Advocacy PrioritiesLearn more about the legislative and regulatory issues important to our members and the actions we're taking to address them.
The educational and cultural exchange (ECE) programs appropriations fund educational, professional, and cultural exchange programs that are crucial to achieving United States’ foreign policy objectives. Each year, the Alliance submits requests to congressional committees in support of robust ECE funding. Funding for exchange programs delivers significant benefits to the United States.
The Au Pair Program, a category within the U.S. Department of State’s BridgeUSA (also known as the Exchange Visitor Program (EVP)), has been promoting daily cultural exchange in American homes for more than 30 years. Through the Au Pair Program, participants and host families take part in a mutually rewarding, intercultural opportunity. Each year, au pairs care for over 50,000 children across the U.S.
U.S. for Success Coalition
International students make important contributions to U.S. innovation, cutting-edge research, and Americans’ understanding of the world. They are essential to the exchange of ideas and intercultural understanding on our campuses, in our communities, and in our workplaces. The United States must do more to attract a greater and more diverse population of international students and ensure their success.
Afghanistan Task Force
Since the civilian surge under President Barack Obama and the Kerry-Lugar-Berman legislation in 2010, Afghanistan has been one of the highest priority countries for U.S. public diplomacy efforts. Between 2003-2021, a majority of at-risk Afghan civil society leaders have been the beneficiaries of these exchange programs; their participation in them and close association with the United States puts their livelihoods and lives in danger.
The COVID-19 pandemic created significant challenges for international exchange programs due to their heavy dependence on travel and people-to-people interactions. An estimated 6500 jobs and $303M were lost by these employers and others in related fields last year due to the pandemic. Overall, the BridgeUSA exchange community experienced $1.23 billion in financial fallout in 2020.
Buy American, Hire American (BAHA) Executive Order
On April 18, 2017, President Trump signed a “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order (EO), which focused primarily on strengthening the “Buy American” policies of the U.S. government and reforming the H-1B skilled worker visa program. The Administration made it clear that they envisioned the EO as part of a larger immigration reform effort.