Damayan Family Reunification

DAMAYAN MIGRANTS | July 21, 2018

In 2008 Policarpio Calpito left behind his 6 kids and wife, to come to the United States, seeking to support his family at home in the Philippines. It would be 10 years before he would see his family again. Poli, along with other Filipinos, were recruited by the Miami-based staffing agency, Star One, through which he received an H2B visa and was promised a job in the Miami area. According to a lawsuit brought by other Filipino former employees of Star One, Star One placed Filipino workers in  “severely overcrowded homes and forced them to work for virtually nothing under the constant threat of deportation.”

Poli was able to escape and made his way to New York City, where a friend connected him with Damayan. Through Damayan and the Urban Justice Center, Poli received his Trafficking Visa (for survivors of Trafficking) which gave him the chance to bring his family over to the US. On July 19, 2018, Poli reunited with his family at John F. Kennedy Airport, where he was able to hug his family, including his now 10-year-old daughter, who was a newborn when he left.  

While working hard to prepare for his family’s arrival, Poli has remained an active member within Damayan. In September 2016,  Poli joined other Damayan leaders and staff in Washington, D.C. for the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) 2016 National Congress and the We Won’t Wait Summit. At the airport, Poli stated that he hopes his story of reunification will “inspire other families to uplift the Damayan vision.”

Damayan handles cases of Filipino labor trafficking survivors in partnership with attorneys from the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center. To date, Damayan has won over 34 Trafficking Visas (T-Visas) and reunited 24 families with 48 children and 15 spouses.