By Marcie Schneider
President of Intrax
Last week it was widely reported by multiple media outlets that senior White House officials are considering a reduction to a handful of J-1 Visa Programs as part of the Trump Administration’s Buy American, Hire American (BAHA) Executive Order. If adopted, these cuts would impact the Au Pair category, among others.
For more than 25 years, the J-1 Visa Program has enabled families across the U.S. and au pairs from around the world to engage in cultural exchange. To date, AuPairCare has matched more than 60,000 au pairs and American families around the country, and often they stay in touch long after their program has ended. These connections build relationships that span generations, facilitating cultural exchange and diplomacy throughout the world.
It’s a program worth fighting for – and rest assured we are.
Right now, we’re working closely with au pair sponsors and allies, government advocacy professionals, and key stakeholders as part of the international Save J1 Campaign, which includes a coordinated grassroots advocacy, legislative, and media engagement here in the U.S.
You, as part of the AuPairCare family – whether au pairs, host families, or friends and alumni of the program – can help play a critical role to ensure the au pair program survives for generations to come.
Au pairs, and international friends of the program, can start by sharing your stories. The most powerful international voice on this issue is your country’s Ambassador to the United States. Here’s a draft letter you can personalize and send to your country’s Ambassador. Ask him or her to contact the U.S. Department of State and share how important these programs are to you and your country.
Host families, and American friends of the program, can share stories about how important cultural exchange has been to your family – and how you think it positively impacts international public diplomacy. Please take the following steps:
At AuPairCare, we strongly believe cultural exchange is the bedrock of public diplomacy. And, au pairs play an integral role in fostering communications and relationship-building between countries. These bonds last a lifetime.
We face today’s challenge with confidence – because we know we have friendships around the globe, forged through decades of meaningful cultural exchange that transcends distance and time.
Now we must all come together and take action. Please share this message with friends, family members, and colleagues. Urge them to support cultural exchange today. Truly, it’s never been more important.