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Why the US has so many Filipino nurses

The US colonized a country and built a labor supply.

Christina Thornell is a senior producer for the Vox video team.

Filipino nurses have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus in the US. And that’s because they make up an outsize portion of the nursing workforce. About one-third of all foreign-born nurses in the US are Filipino; it’s been a growing phenomenon for the past 50 years.

Since 1960, 150,000 Filipino nurses have come to work in the US. It began with the US colonization of the Philippines under the guise of “benevolent assimilation” and has increased due to a series of US immigration policies. It has resulted in a pipeline that allows the US to draw nurses from the Philippines every time it faces a shortage.

But there are factors pushing nurses out of the Philippines too. Check out the video to learn about the push and pull factors and the history that led to the large presence of Filipino nurses in the US.

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