Report: “Diverted into Deportation: The Immigration Consequences of Diversion Programs in Maryland,”American University Washington College of Law Immigrant Justice Clinic & American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland (2016). [w/tables and charts]
News Article: George Packer, “Hillary Clinton and the Populist Revolt,” The New Yorker, Oct. 31, 2016.
Posted in Economics, Education, Employment, Family, Health, housing, Immigration, Politics, Race, Uncategorized, Wealthy, Welfare
New Article: Jennifer J. Lee, “U.S. Workers Need Not Apply: Challenging Low-Wage Guest Worker Programs,” 28 Stan.L.& Pol’y Rev. (forthcoming).
With immigration reform stalled once again by United States v. Texas, many turn to the expansion of guest worker programs as a solution to our immigration woes. Low-wage foreign guest workers can fill “bad jobs” that no U.S. workers want. This article shows that guest worker programs are harmful to all low-wage workers by challenging this commonly accepted narrative and exploring how such programs create a cycle that fuels both U.S. worker shortages and the necessity for guest workers.
Scholars have amply criticized guest worker programs because they impair the rights of guest workers and contravene liberal egalitarian principles of social membership. These criticisms about how foreign workers are treated on U.S. soil, however, have been insufficient to tip the balance against these programs. What is missing from this debate is an attempt to understand why guest worker programs persist despite their many flaws. The legal framework broadly delegates power to employers to create U.S. worker shortages and the alternative of the highly productive and compliant guest worker. Cultural narratives operate to mask this reality by tying these phenomena to cultural explanations about low-wage workers. Together they create a climate that is favorable to guest worker programs.
This article’s close examination of these problems exposes why guest worker programs should not be a ready solution for immigration reform. It suggests a new approach to challenging such programs by broadening the lens to consider the plight of the U.S. worker. The U.S. worker can help shift the legal and social norms surrounding such programs by revealing how the fate of all low-wage workers is interconnected by government-enabled degradation of low-wage jobs. This approach suggests new advocacy strategies to eliminate guest worker programs in their current format in order to protect the dignity of all low-wage workers.
New Report: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration, (Sept. 2016).
New Blog Post: Francine Lipman, I’ve Got ITINs on My Mind, The Surley Subgroup, Sept. 24, 2016.
Here. [My own example from El Salvador is a neighborhood kid with a full scholarship to university who could not go the couple of blocks because of gang threats.]
Op-Ed: Nicholas Kristof, Obama’s Death Sentence for Young Refugees, N.Y. Times, June 25, 2016
In the the news. Needless-to-say, I think this is wrong. My article on remittances, which discusses the dangers posed by this and other forms of capture by sending countries, can be found here. A related article on the connection between remittances and food security can be found here.
New Article: Jayesh Rathod, Danger and Dignity: Immigrant Day Laborers and Occupational Risk, 46 Seton Hall L. Rev. 813 (2016). Abstract below:
The plight of immigrant workers in the United States has captured significant scholarly attention in recent years. Despite the prevalence of discourses regarding this population, one set of issues has received relatively little attention: immigrant workers’ exposure to unhealthy and unsafe working conditions, and their corresponding susceptibility to workplace injuries and illnesses. Researchers have consistently found that immigrant workers suffer disproportionately from occupational injuries and fatalities, even when controlling for industry and occupation. Why, then, are foreign-born workers at greater risk for workplace injuries and fatalities, when compared with their native-born counterparts? This Article seeks to develop answers to that question with the aid of empirical research and to build upon a growing interdisciplinary literature.
This Article presents findings from a qualitative research study designed to explore the factors that shape occupational risks for immigrants. The study, conducted over several months in 2014, centered on in-depth interviews of eighty-four immigrant day laborers seeking employment in different parts of Northern Virginia. The workers’ responses present a complex picture of the immigrant worker experience, reflecting persistent dangers alongside powerful expressions of worker dignity: while the Virginia day laborers continue to encounter significant occupational risks, many comfortably asserted their rights, complicating standard narratives of immigrant worker subordination and vulnerability.
The results of the study also point to ongoing economic insecurities, and regulatory failures relating to the provision of training, use of protective equipment, and oversight of smaller worksites. The findings also signal the need for a more holistic approach to workplace regulation that concomitantly examines a range of workplace concerns, including wage violations, hostile work environments, and health and safety risks. Finally, the day laborers’ experiences reveal that worker centers are well positioned to insulate immigrant workers from workplace risks, by promoting transparency and accountability in the employer-employee relationship.