Opinion L.A.

Observations and provocations
from The Times' Opinion staff

« Previous Post | Opinion L.A. Home | Next Post »

Immigration: Feds tweak student visa program

Student-Visas
The State Department this week took a small step to fix a controversial visa work travel program created nearly 50 years ago to foster cultural exchanges but that has, in recent years, morphed into little more than a source of cheap labor.

The visa, known as the J-1 work travel program, allows foreign students to earn some money while visiting the United States. The program is operated by the State Department, but in reality it relies on private groups, or sponsors, to recruit and supervise the foreign students during their time in this country. In recent years the program has been plagued by reports of abuse.

As a result, federal officials have banned the Council for Education Travel USA from sponsoring students.  The company, until this week, was one of the largest organization that handled the special visas.

The change in policy is intended to address concerns raised last year when hundreds of foreign students sponsored by the company and placed at a Hershey's packaging plant in Pennsylvania staged a walkout. The strike was intended to protest poor labor conditions. The young men and women at the plant said they were forced to work long hours for little pay and had been placed in shoddy housing. Those who complained were threatened with deportation and told to work harder, according to the students.

The decision to bar the Council for Educational Travel, however, amounts to little more than a tweak in the program. If the State Department wants to protect visiting scholars and promote a positive image of the United States, it ought to take enact tougher measures and add more oversight.

ALSO:

All work, little play

America's waning influence

This time, the limelight for Komen is too hot a pink

 --Sandra Hernandez

Photo: Students protess the working conditions at a Hershey Co. warehouse in Palmyra, Pa. Credit: John C. Whitehead / the Patriot-News

 

Comments () | Archives (0)

The comments to this entry are closed.


Connect

Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video


Categories


Recent Posts
Reading Supreme Court tea leaves on 'Obamacare' |  March 27, 2012, 5:47 pm »
Candidates go PG-13 on the press |  March 27, 2012, 5:45 am »
Santorum's faulty premise on healthcare reform |  March 26, 2012, 5:20 pm »

Archives
 


About the Bloggers
The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.



In Case You Missed It...