TRUMP VOWS TO DUMP J1 VISA IF HE'S ELECTED; Irish students to be denied summer in US if tycoon makes White House.
Byline: DAVID MAHER
DONALD Trump has vowed to axe the J-1 Visa if he is elected as the next US President denying thousands of students a summer in the States.
The tycoon is the current front-runner to win the Republican Party candidacy and has released his immigration policies.
They include plans to scrap the popular programme which saw 8,000 students travel to the States over the past few months.
A statement on Trump's campaign website said: "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."
More than 150,000 Irish students have availed of the J-1 option to visit the US in the past 50 years. It allows them to work and travel for four months and has long been regarded as a rite of passage for many of our third-level students.
And yesterday student leaders and travel experts hit out at the move by Trump.
Kevin Donoghue, President of the Union of Students, said: "The J-1 is a huge part of the academic experience for a lot of people and most Irish students contribute well to American society while over there.
"I'd say the idea of scrapping the programme is probably as well thought out as the rest of Trump's foreign policy."
Michael Doorley, owner of SayIt Travel, claimed the move showed Mr Trump was not at interested in the Irish vote.
He added: "The J-1 programme is well regarded by employers in the States and there's several accounts of American firms citing it as beneficial when hiring graduates. It allows students to embrace and assimilate the culture which sets them up well to work with American companies in Ireland and in the US."
And many students who experienced the thrills of a J-1 summer said they'd benefitted greatly from the experience.
Thomas Gleeson, a 21-yearold student, added: "I think it's a backwards step in the relationship of the countries.
"The J-1 has been great. I was lucky enough to do it twice and I'd hope other students get the chance."
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