Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Nancy Foner

Committee Members

Richard Alba

Phil Kasinitz

Julia Wrigely

Subject Categories

Migration Studies


Filipinos, Israel, United States, Elder Care, Caregivers, New York


As the population of the United States and Israel rapidly ages, the elder care industry is expanding at an unprecedented rate. In-home care work is increasingly performed by migrants, many of whom are from the Philippines. This study, based on two years of ethnographic research and 163 in-depth interviews, examines how the United States’ and Israel’s differing immigration and labor policies impact the lives of Filipino caregivers. Despite vastly different policy approaches to migrant elder care workers—highly unregulated in the U.S. and highly regulated in Israel—this study found many striking similarities between Filipino caregivers’ migration and work experiences in the two countries. This is because although the policies are on opposite ends of the spectrum, they produce a number of parallel results. Immigration policies in both the U.S. and Israel relegate many migrants from the Philippines to precarious legal statuses, which directly or indirectly funnels many of them into caregiving, as well as weakens their bargaining power. Meanwhile, both countries’ labor policies fail to adequately protect caregivers, either by being deficient or overly restrictive. Thereby, policies in both countries increase caregivers’ vulnerability to hazards at work, which include payment problems, interrupted sleep, expansion of pre-arranged duties, various form of abuse, and isolation.