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Ireland's youngest minister slams Trump and his proposal to scrap the J-1

Simon Harris said that Trump “clearly doesn’t understand the programme or its purpose”.

harris v trump Simon Harris and Donald Trump

JUNIOR FINANCE MINISTER Simon Harris has criticised Donald Trump’s proposal to scrap the J-1 visa programme if he becomes US president next year.

The 28-year-old, who is the youngster minister in the current government, said that the Republican presidential hopeful “clearly doesn’t understand the programme or its purpose”.

As part of his immigration reform policies published earlier this week, Trump committed to ‘terminate’ the J-1 visa jobs programme which has become a rite of passage for thousands of Irish students every summer.

The scheme allows full-time third level students to enter the US on a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa. Students are allowed to travel to the USA and work there legally for up to four months.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie this week, Harris said he was reluctant to comment on anything Trump says, but added:

The J1 is a programme really valued by Irish people and it is important to them. The J1 programme has been incredibly successful and is highly regarded on both sides of the Atlantic.

“Our citizens do us proud in their involvement in the programme and the links, friendships and opportunities it has created between our two countries have been significant.

Mr Trump clearly doesn’t understand the programme or it’s purpose. It’s up to candidates to put forward their ideas and their policies and for the US people to pick their next president. I am sure many Irish -American voters will reflect on this policy proposal by Mr Trump and it’s potential adverse impact on Irish citizens.

Trump is the current Republican frontrunner despite his campaign being beset by controversies over remarks he has made about former Republican presidential nominee John McCain, Mexican immigrants and Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.

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The abolition of the programme is just one of a number of Trump’s proposed reforms that could have an impact on Irish people visiting, living and working in the US.

Other measures he has outlined include deporting every immigrant who lives in the US without permission, preventing overstay visas and ending birthright citizenship.

There are an estimated 50,000 Irish people living in America who are undocumented and could face deportation under Trump’s plans.

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Read: Donald Trump and Fox News are getting along again. Period.

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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