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Legislative Update.

CIPRIS

Late last year, the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) announced plans to extract a $95 fee from each non-immigrant foreign student in the United States to help pay for its Coordinated Interagency Partnership Regulating International Services (CIPRIS) initiative.

$95 fee charged to J-1 students

The new ruling will require schools and other non-government hosts of F-1, J-1, and M-1 non-immigrants to collect the fee and process the paperwork it generates. In exchange, the INS will provide the computer software. Individuals who have these types of visa classifications will be subject to, a fee when they first register in school or enroll in a commerce exchange program in the United States.

Many camp counselors who come to the United States on the J-l visa for only a few months at a time may not be able to afford the fee or want to pay it. That means recruitment of camp counselors will be made more difficult; and it raises the specter of the camps having to absorb that cost for each counselor, as well as the cost for processing the paperwork.

ACA voices opposition

The American Camping Association, along with our legislative partner APCO Associates, recently met with representatives of other organizations affected by the new ruling. We agreed to file letters in response to the INS proposal. The organizations are united in their opposition. We will urge the INS to modify the rule, allowing an exemption for short-term participants in the exchange program. We will also protest the amount of the fee. The original Intent of the INS tracking program was to track students who spend as many as four years in this country attending school. The $95 fee imposed on individuals over four years makes the same fee imposed on someone here for four months highly unfair and burdensome.

In addition to economic hardships and lack of manpower the benefit from the CIPRIS program will be minimal because by the time the information is processed the worker will be gone. ACA also opposes this ruling because of the time frame. The fee is effective retroactively to last year. Many camps are currently recruiting for year 2000 staff without any mention of this fee.

Meetings have already been held with congressional staff and representatives of the INS. If we are unsuccessful in getting a change in the ruling, we will consider seeking a solution from the Congress.

What camp directors can do

ACA members should be involved in this effort by writing their congressman and senators urging them to correspond with the INS on our behalf. We will make available to ACA members a copy of the letter of response to INS and talking points for communicating with policy makers. Be sure to advise ACA of any contact you have with members of Congress.

Camp Safety

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a federal safety standard for all bunk beds. The new standard is a result of approximately ten child fatalities each year traced to entrapment in both child and adult bunk beds.

A voluntary standard for bunk beds was published be the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) in 1992. Although the voluntary standard had requirements concerning entrapment hazards, the new CPSC standards are more stringent. In addition, there has been a continued pattern of non-conformance to the voluntary standard by some manufacturers in the bunk bed industry.

The mandatory federal ruling will enable CPSC to hold retailers and distributors accountable, seek civil penalties against manufacturers for non-complying bunk beds, and stop shipments of non-complying bunk beds made by foreign manufacturers. The ruling will also make it illegal for retailers to sell defective bunk beds.

Consumers that currently have bunk beds with mattresses or foundations that rely on side rail ledges as the only means of support, should write to: Bunk Bed Kit, P.O. Box 2436, High Point, NC 27261, and ask for a free cross-wire support kit. Additional information on the CPSC ruling can be obtained by contacting the CPSC's consumer hotline at 800-638-2772 or through their Web site: www.cpsc.gov.

FICA

The American Camping Association and APCO Associates are currently working to build support from members of Congress on FICA tax withholding. Many full-time students, employed as seasonal camp counselors, are not exempt from FICA tax withholdings. An exemption would create payroll flexibility and allow for improved staff selections, since camp employment will become a more attractive option for student workers ACA will meet with policy makers and seek legislation that will exempt seasonal employees from current FICA tax withholdings.

Public Lands

On February 10, 2000, a congressional hearing was held to discuss the proposed concession regulations in the national parks. APCO will monitor the Resources Committee hearing, and provide members with a report.
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Title Annotation:additional fees charged camp counselors
Publication:Camping Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2000
Words:795
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