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News from EPI Media Advisory: Press call to discuss new report revealing employer misuse of the State Department’s J-1 Summer Work Travel Program

On Tuesday, July 30, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, the International Labor Recruitment Working Group (ILRWG) will host a call to discuss the first-ever, data-informed picture of employment realities in the J-1 Summer Work Travel Program (SWT). Litigation and news reports in recent years document countless abuses of J-1 workers, including wage theft, retaliation, physical threats, and human trafficking.

To date, the severe lack of transparency regarding the Department of State’s SWT program—the largest of its international exchange programs that authorize temporary employment in the United States—prevents an informed public debate and hinders efforts to achieve key oversight reforms.

The ILRWG’s investigation analyzes data collected through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regarding the 16,000 companies, including large corporations like McDonald’s, Disney, and Food Lion, who have hired nearly 100,000 young migrant workers through the J-1 SWT program.


  • Daniel Costa, director of immigration law and policy research at the Economic Policy Institute
  • Rachel Micah-Jones, chair of the International Labor Recruitment Working Group, founder and executive director at Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc.
  • Meredith Stewart, senior supervising attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Shannon Lederer, director of immigration policy at AFL-CIO
  • Jeremy McLean, policy and advocacy manager at Justice in Motion
  • Oliver Benzon, former J-1 SWT worker

When: July 30, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. Eastern

RSVP for call-in information to

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