Washington, DC: The Alliance for International Exchange’s Executive Director, Ilir Zherka, issued the following statement today regarding the Biden Administration allowing Presidential Proclamation 10052 to expire yesterday, March 31. P. 10052 was intended to suspend the entry to the United States of certain nonimmigrant visa applicants presenting a risk to the U.S. labor market during the economic recovery following the coronavirus outbreak. The below may be quoted in whole or in part.
We applaud the decision of the Biden Administration to allow Proclamation 10052 to expire yesterday. The premise of P. 10052 was deeply flawed: International cultural exchange programs strengthen our national security, while supporting American jobs. Those were also the conclusions of the Federal Court in NAM v. DHS when it issued an injunction preventing implementation of the Proclamation.
The Alliance urges the Biden Administration to turn its attention swiftly to addressing the continuing economic crisis facing exchange sponsors in the United States. An estimated 6500 jobs and $303M were lost by these employers and others in related fields last year due to the pandemic. Overall, the exchange community experienced $1.23 billion in financial fallout in 2020. The Administration’s current approach of not issuing most J-1 visas in countries where there are travel bans, as well as its decision not to prioritize these BridgeUSA programs for visa processing in countries without such a ban, will likely mean that program sponsors will go through another year without much income. That would be devastating to exchange employers and to the cultural exchange programs they run, which would in turn hurt the United States’ national security for years to come.
The Administration can help ease the current crisis by excepting J-1 visas from the travel bans and prioritizing the processing of these visas. The time is now to enable summer participation in exchange programs where possible and appropriate, and to support the American employers who sponsor those programs.
The Alliance for International Exchange is an association dedicated to promoting the growth and impact of exchange programs and the effectiveness of its members. Since 1993, it serves as the collective public policy voice for now over 90 organizations comprising the international educational and cultural exchange community in the United States.