Updated: Jun 24, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 23, 2020 -- The Joint National Committee for Languages and the National Council for Languages and International Studies (JNCL-NCLIS) is deeply troubled by the continuance of Presidential Proclamation 10014, now restricting the issuance of essential nonimmigrant visas. The restrictions placed on H-1B and select J-1 visa programs specifically, will have a profoundly negative impact on language and immersion programs, hindering educational opportunities for children across the U.S. and further damaging the United States economy by stunting progress in critical areas such as education and national security.
The Trump Administration announced the order in response to the economic downturn and unprecedented rise of unemployment rates due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, studies overwhelmingly show that nonimmigrant temporary workers help create American jobs, with estimates ranging from 1.8 to 7.5 American jobs created for each H-1B worker hired. As an example of the positive relationship between nonimmigrant temporary workers, language and immersion programs, and the creation of American jobs, 47 French-American schools across the United States employ Americans, making up half of the teachers and holding the majority of staffing positions. Without the J-1 teacher visa program, these schools and thousands of American jobs would not exist.
For today’s students, multilingualism and multiculturalism are significant engines of global cooperation for future generations in international relations, trade, and economic development. Multiple Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports cite the shortfalls of language and culture skills in the U.S. military and intelligence communities, concluding that the nation’s language deficit could threaten priorities and missions around the globe. Furthermore, the Commission on Language Learning of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences released a report in February 2017, at Congress’ request, which notes that “by several measures, the United States has neglected languages in its educational curricula, its international strategies, and its domestic policies.” Because of this neglect, the demand for world language skills among U.S. employers is outpacing the supply, especially among high-demand, critical languages. Aided by H-1B and J-1 visa programs, language and immersion programs in the U.S. have the power to prepare students, and therefore the country as a whole, to address these challenges—and opportunities— in the global economy.
On behalf of 300,000 language professionals throughout the Language Enterprise in the United States, JNCL-NCLIS urges the Administration to rescind the restrictions placed on H-1B and J-1 nonimmigrant visa programs for language educators.
Established in 1972, the Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL) and the National Council for Languages and International Studies (NCLIS) represent the Language Enterprise to the US government and business community. Our membership includes over 130 organizations, which employ more than 300,000 language professionals globally. Together, we form an all-inclusive network and encompass all areas of the language field: exchanges, research, technology, translation, interpretation, localization, testing and more. Our mission is to ensure that Americans have the opportunity to learn English and at least one other language.