Away From Home: The Impact of Colonial History on Filipino Labor Trafficking in the US

Wayne Jopanda : Political Science

Mentor: Victoria Robinson, Ethnic Studies

In “Migrants for Export”, Dr. Robyn Rodriguez describes the Philippines’ transformation into a “Labor Brokerage State” in which Filipinos are actively recruited to become Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). Wayne’s research examines how this system of “labor brokerage” has impacted the increasing undocumented Filipino population in the U.S. First, he will analyze the history of U.S. labor and immigration policies that allow for the exploitation of OFWs. Second, Wayne will study the advocacy efforts of OFWs and undocumented Filipinos to examine if these cases of labor exploitation lead to workers identifying as undocumented. Lastly, through ethnographic interviews with OFWs, he will investigate the connections between current issues within the U.S. Guest Worker Program and the undocumented Filipino population. Overall, Wayne’s research aims to uncover how current labor and immigration policies have shaped the lived experiences of undocumented Filipinos in the U.S.