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Absurd proposed changes to exchange student host families by the State Department

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posted on May, 10 2010 @ 09:35 PM
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My wife and I have hosted 3 different exchange students through Youth For Understanding in the past few years. At the time, we had 2 teen aged kids in the home. YFU had multiple safeguards we had to go through in order to host the exchange students. None of which I thought were unreasonable.

I just received an email from them today, from the president of YFU outlining proposed new regulations for host families by the US State Department. The email made it clear that YFU thought some of the changes were excessive and would limit the exchange student experience for many students.

Here is a transcript of that email:


Earlier this week, the US Department of State (DOS) published proposed changes
to the J-1 exchange visitor regulations which would greatly affect our international
students, host families (like you), and volunteers (like you). While YFU remains vigilant
as always to protect and ensure student safety and well-being, we view many of the proposed
regulations as excessive, invasive and likely to be prohibitive for those wishing to become
involved in YFU and other international exchange organizations.

If approved, the new regulations would:

* prohibit single people, or single parents without school-age children from hosting a student

* require fingerprinting of all host family members and local volunteers prior to placement of student in the home

* expand the host family application to require families to disclose financial resources

* bar the use of student photographs on profiles for host family recruitment

* require volunteers to take Department of State proscribed training annually

* delimit the distance of the area rep from the placement home to a one hour drive (vs. the current 120 mile radius).


YFU is preparing an official response, and we would like to hear and incorporate your voice and opinions too.


I firmly believe in protecting the students from potential harm, but I have to agree that some of these changes are very excessive.

Yearly fingerprinting and social security checks which are all run through the FBI database for families, as well as yearly training courses from the State Department for the host families.

I personally think this whole mess is absolutely ridiculous. Like YFU I also believe this is going to severely limit the amount of people who will be able to, or want to host kids from another country.

ATS is a very internationally community. This doesn't just affect people in the US. It affects kids, and people all over the world who want to expose themselves to a different culture and different educational environment.

The State Department is out of control on this one. People need to stand up and let them know these regulations are very overboard.

Here is the link to the full proposed regulations:
Full Link



[edit on 10-5-2010 by webpirate]




posted on May, 10 2010 @ 10:31 PM
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This is just one more instance of the "state" clamping down and wrestling more control over its people. They could care less how good this program might be for people. Its no longer about you or the students, it is about what is best for the government and those who influence it. There is really no reason why the government should even be involving itself in the issue, past the normal visa issues. The one thing that people will have to soon realize, is that our government is no longer here to serve the people but rather the opposite, we are serving the government. The sad thing is, this definitely won't be the last thing that you see "tightened" or even curbed by the government. You should get used to it as it's only going to get worse from here on out.

Think about it for a minute, a lot of people here in the US actually fear their government and not because they are doing anything wrong either. In fact, I don't think that I know anyone who does not fear their government. Everything from local police to the IRS makes a lot of people nervous and can induce swaths of stress in the most "straight-arrowed" people. Most people feel as if there is nothing they can do to change it and they are right for the most part. Most people don't agree with the many policies mandated by government, such as the bailouts but "we the people" no longer have a say. We are forced to go right along with it, similar to how some third world dictators force their people into policies they do not approve of. If you fear your government and you can't change it to meet the will of the people, then ask yourself if you are really free? What's the difference between your government and say the Chinese Government, Cuban Government or Liberian Government? It is no longer a free country when the people of that country have no say in how the government reigns.

If something doesn't serve the government well, you will lose it. If the government can twist something to suit them, as with this case, then that's what they will do. This looks like an attempt to simply get more personal information into a database somewhere with maybe a sprinkle of distraction. Anyway, I apologize for the "rant" sounding post but things like this get me so angry. I'm sure that no one in your program will agree with this new policy, yet it will be forced upon you anyway because the people no longer control their government.

--airspoon



posted on May, 10 2010 @ 10:59 PM
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reply to post by airspoon
 


Exactly. I couldn't have said it better myself.

I don't think this really has much to do with exchange students from the governments perspective. It's just another way to keep tabs on more people.



posted on May, 10 2010 @ 11:10 PM
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Did Hillary, A.K.A. Mrs. Oil of Ipicac Clinton create these new mandates?
This is exactly the things people should have expected her to do.
I am sure she is just following her Bilderberg handlers wishes in this regard. The idea is to get maximum control through steps like these until there will be almost nothing anyone can do without first having to get permission and oversight from Big Brother..., or big sister if you count hillary...
The progressives which sadly included the Bush's have been at these sorts of things for quite some time now and don't appear to be slowing any time soon....



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 02:38 PM
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For 16 years I have worked in the Foreign Exchange programs and also have hosted 18 students and have one this year. Last week I received the 50 pages that are being discussed in Washington, DC today and there was only 1 issue that could hurt me or anyone. Being a single mom. I am 60 years old now. Had 3 of my own children and was married before. I fostered many children in my life and I was a CASA worker. Was also a nurse and a 911 call taker for years but yes, this law would hurt a single parent from hosting. I sent a letter along with my mothers day card from my Danish student this year along with what she wrote to Washington with my organization and asked them to at least give it to someone if they were not able to bring this up in front of them. YES, I think this would hurt some of us but if you read the papers, come on line and research how many students have been abused in many ways, and have seen those within your own organization only caring about how many students they can place so they can get a lot of money you would be honest and change how you feel and place your students. Last year alone, I had two girls with me and those girls came to me many times crying and asking me to help a student in some way. They were with different organizations and with the one I was with at that time. How do people sleep knowing students are sharing a bedroom with the opposite sex? How do you sleep when you know a student or maybe two are in a home with an Area Rep and are hungry, told they can only eat certain food or have no food in the mornings? How do you live each day if a student is not being contacted or helped when they need it? Students have had money taken from them, placed in awful homes, been sexually abused and have been mentally abused. They have been in homes where no one talks to them and they are treated like they are not there. Why is this happening.

The new finger printing laws are overdue. The testing for us manager is overdue, the placing of students in a home that only one person has been in that home to see the quality of the placement is is wrong. Having another person see the family is great. Giving money to families is wrong also for hosting. This is a volunteer opportunity for love, family, a bonding relationship and happiness, not for payment and not caring. Having the income checked is also good. Hey, I am on SSDI and I worked all my life. I raised my children and put them through college alone and never wanted a patt on the back but I do want to continue to host and if that means taking 2, I will do it. Whatever the decision, it will work out. We will live with the decision and care about these dreams of our students. It has been harder and harder to find good homes. There are so many organizations out there and some I never heard of. THere are so many schools I have to beg to come into so I can show them I can do the job I am suppose to do for them as well as the student and host family. I believe we all need to work together here and do what is expected of us a people. Not for just money or how many placements.

Yes, the government has stepped in and is trying to run a lot of things in our lives and some of those things the government should stay out of because a lot of us feel as though our freedom is being taken away but this is what has to be done for safety. The two empty nesters should be able to continue hosting, I should be able to continue hosting and yes many other retired singles or married couple should be able to continue giving their love and homes to these students but the rest, it needs to change. If it were our child and they were overseas and all the things happened to them like some things that happend in our country, you would be standing up wanting laws to change as well. If I hurt anyones feelings, I truly am sorry but it is how I feel and am happy some changes will be done.
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