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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 1°C
rite of passage

Donald Trump wants to scrap the J-1 programme

As part of a range of immigration policies the Republican wants to introduce measures that could impact on the Irish in America.

shutterstock_196597025 Shutterstock / Albert H. Teich Shutterstock / Albert H. Teich / Albert H. Teich

IF DONALD TRUMP makes it to the White House it could mean the end of the J-1 programme.

The Republican presidential candidate has released his immigration reform policies in which he targets the programme which is a rite of passage to thousands of Irish students each year.

A part of a range of immigration policies he wants to introduce, it states:

“The J-1 visa jobs program for foreign youth will be terminated and replaced with a resume bank for inner city youth provided to all corporate subscribers to the J-1 visa program.”

The J-1 Visa 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.

The programme has hit the headlines in the US, with some criticising the behaviour of Irish students.

Just this summer, following the Berkeley balcony tragedy, the former Irish president Mary McAleese hit back at the New York Times newspaper for branding Irish students with a “lazy tabloid stereotype”.

The newspaper had claimed the visa programme was an “embarrassment for Ireland”.

shutterstock_283689917 Shutterstock / Andrew Cline Shutterstock / Andrew Cline / Andrew Cline

Other reforms Trump wants to impose could also impact on the Irish living abroad in the states. These include:

  • Deport every immigrant living in the US without permission. Trump goes significantly further than his Republican opponents here, suggesting that the US needs to deport all immigrants living in the US illegally, and take preventative measures to ensure that no one emigrates to the US illegally.
  • Prevent visa overstays. Trump proposes criminal penalties for those that overstay on their Visa. He said that millions of people come to the United States on temporary visas but refuse to leave, without consequence. “This is a threat to national security,” he said.
  • Enact a nationwide e-verify program. The measure — which was part of the immigration reform package that passed the US Senate in 2013 — would allow employers to check to digitised program to see if a potential employee was legally allowed to work in the US.
  • End birthright citizenship. This is a proposal that’s been gaining steam with some conservative Republicans in Congress. His policy states “no sane country” would give automatic citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants. 

Under the Obama administration strides have been made in immigration reform that could benefit the Irish living in America.

Obama has quite a different view to Trump. On St Patrick’s Day this year President Obama said he and Taoiseach Enda Kenny shared the view that one of the great strengths of the US is its willingness to welcome new immigrants to its shores.

He said that nobody has contributed more to the growth and dynamism of the US economy than Irish immigrants.

During his visit to the White House in March, Kenny confirmed he had discussed visa waivers that would allow illegal Irish immigrants to travel to and from Ireland and the US freely.

Additional reporting from Business Insider 

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