How a young Pinay au pair became undocumented in America

NEW YORK CITY – A young Filipina came to the US March last year under a J-1 exchange visitor’s visa through cultural exchange website

She requested not to reveal her real name, so she will be indentified in this report as “Myra”.

An au pair is a foreign young person who lives with a host family in order to learn a language and get to know a new culture.

This is an exchange visitor program acknowledged by the State Department.

“Parang ang mangyayari magbabakasyon ako sa kanila, parang something na ganun, pag-aaralin nila ako, so ang kapalit nun magtrabaho ako sa kanila,” she said.

The host family is then expected to provide their au pair with accommodations, meals, health insurance, schooling, and monthly allowance.

Myra said she and the host family signed a contract saying she will receive a $200-per-week allowance for a year.

“So nagbayad po ako ng training ko which is $900,” Myra said. “So yung mga visa ganun, so pagdating ko sa Chicago, akala ko totally ok na. After two days sinabi nila sa akin hindi na nila ako kailangan. Tinulungan lang talaga nila ako makarating dito.”

Myra said she was offered another family to stay with temporarily but this time she would not receive any allowances until she got another official host family.

“Natakot po ako kasi, baket?” she said. “Parang ganun, sabi lang gusto lang daw nila akong tulungan so nasa akin ang desisyon kung papayag ako na lumipat sa ibang family na sponsor or aalis ako sa puder nila.”

Immigration Attorney Ellaine Carr said Filipinos going abroad should know their rights and how to protect themselves when they arrive at their destinations.

Carr said, “Magkonsulta kayo sa abogado kasi maaring meron kayong contract right dun sa employer niyo or pwede ring meron kayong labor claim at kung kayo ay naging biktima ng human trafficking dapat po magreport kayo at huwag kaying matakot.”

“So until now lutang pa rin ako kasi nagdadalawang isip ako kung babalik ako (sa Pilipinas) or mag-iistay ako dito.” according to Myra.

As for Myra, her J-1 visa expired on the March 1st, 2015.

Now she has two choices: Take the next flight back home to the Philippines — the regular course of action for anyone with an expired visa should do.

Or stay in the US and become part of the 11 million or so undocumented immigrants in America.

You may contact Don Tagala at for more information.

4 Comments on this post.

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  • noz
    3 March 2015 at 11:51 pm - Reply

    REALLY, giving help is the main reason?. so why would this host family help someone like her they do not know or is it the opposite, they all knew each other well. her story is a tale with circumventing motive of bad intent to overstay on already expired visa.

  • Generoso Magaoay
    4 March 2015 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    Justice VS. Money? If immigration lawyers is/are for justice, and that justice rightfully belongs to the citizens and legal immigrants of the United States, how so that they have to defend illegal immigrants (undocumented immigrants—political correctness caveat)??? Is there a hidden clause in somebody’s closet that we do not know? From the time you were born here or when you cross the border legally, you earned your rights… such as representation in legal proceedings, isn’t it?

  • JRB
    4 March 2015 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    Hello the only answer to you is get the hell of America? Don’t be like the 11 million “DUMMYS” That don’t belong here in America? That’s why we Americans hate to hear about the 11 million losers in America. So go down to airport catch a plane and go home where you belong the right way. Than try to come to America the right way.

  • Matotski
    13 March 2015 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    Iha umuwi ka na lang mahirap maging illegal jan