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Tita and Emet Comodas with their young children in the late 1970s. Tita and Emet Comodas with their young children, shortly before the birth of their fifth child, in the late 1970s (photo courtesy of Jason DeParle).

One Filipino Family’s Experience Tells the ‘Forgotten’ Immigration Story

Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019

In 1987, a 40-year-old mother of five named Tita Comodas received a strange request. Comodas, a resident of a sprawling slum district in Manila, had just been asked by an acquaintance if a young American journalist named Jason DeParle could rent space in her already cramped dwelling. She somewhat reluctantly agreed, and DeParle stayed for eight months, kicking off what became a lifelong friendship.

For this week’s interview on Trend Lines, WPR’s Elliot Waldman is joined by DeParle, now a senior writer at The New York Times, for a discussion on his new book, “A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves.” It chronicles three generations of the Comodas family and their experiences working abroad to help their loved ones back home gain entry into a new, global middle class. The resulting portrait is both extraordinary and universal—a story told in vivid detail against the backdrop of the ebbs and flows of global migration.

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Relevant Articles on WPR:
Human Capital: The Philippines’ Labor Export Model
As the Migration Crisis Evolves, the Wealthiest Countries Still Aren’t Doing Enough
Behind the Aquarius and Family Separation, a Decade of Policy Failures on Immigration

Trend Lines is produced and edited by Peter Dörrie, a freelance journalist and analyst focusing on security and resource politics in Africa. You can follow him on Twitter at @peterdoerrie.

To send feedback or questions, email us at podcast@worldpoliticsreview.com.