The J1 has been a right of passage for students across Ireland and the world for decades. The Trump administration has sparked concerns that it could cancel the J1 visa program, a move that has concerned past J1 students.
One tweet unsettled students as Trump appeared to want to target J1 occupations:
So apparently Donald Trump wants to get rid of au pairs since we are all here with a J-1 Visa ?✌?️ pic.twitter.com/OLaJP8Nokx
— Annie. (@CallMeAnnie) May 7, 2016
Trump issued an executive order in April to "Buy American and Hire American" which urged a review of U.S. immigration rules. Now, past students who experienced the J1 are turning to social media to voice their outrage under the hashtag #SaveJ1.
According to USIT, Ireland's leading travel company that specialises in travel programmes, it's "business as usual" when it comes to the summer J1 and they have no reason to be "planning anything other than what we usually would" at this time of year. The company will take bookings for the J1 Summer programme from October, the date when applications normally begin.
However, bookings for the 1 Year Graduate Programme appears to be under threat for 2018 as the visas remain under review with no further updates provided. Graduates of 2016 can still book a place for this year but only a small number of visas remain.
The internet is full of messages of concern about the possibility of the programme being cancelled. Tweets from prominent figures in education to past J1 graduates highlight the importance of the visa to their college and life experience:
I had the privilege to work abroad for 3 months in the U.S when I was 19 in a Summer Camp. Future generations should not miss out #saveJ1
— Sian (@SPearson90) September 18, 2017
— Fiona Thornton (@thornton_fiona) September 18, 2017
#SaveJ1 the most, happiest, funniest, wonderful, amazing summer of my life. This visa is so important for many seaside communities in the US
— Sophie Barton (@sophielooo) September 18, 2017
— △ hannah. (@hai_itshan) September 18, 2017
— cang (@ddersu) September 9, 2017
make summers great again ya #saveJ1
— birnur (@ucgenli) September 9, 2017
Instagram was full of past students sharing their experience of the J1 with stories and photographs of their summer in the US:
To take part in the campaign hashtag your J1 post on Twitter or Instagram with #SaveJ1.