- Mexico and the United States signed a historic agreement to protect migrant workers’ rights.
- The US Department of Homeland Security announced an immigration relief measure to protect migrant workers who witness or are victims of labor rights violations.
- PERIPLO recognizes the work of partner organization Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, which was crucial in achieving both policy advances.
In recent weeks, migrant workers that travel between the US and Mexico have secured important victories to protect and defend their labor rights. The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the governments of Mexico and the United States and the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) announcement of an expedited deferred action process are signs of significant progress in the struggle to uphold the rights of migrant agricultural workers.
The Memorandum Of Understanding Concerning Labor Mobility and the Protection of Participants in Temporary Foreign Worker Programs, signed on January 17th of this year, has the following stated objectives:
- Strengthen bilateral cooperation surrounding the United States’ H-2 temporary worker visa programs.
- Protect the labor rights and existing anti-discrimination rights for temporary foreign workers throughout recruitment, employment, and return in the United States and in Mexico – including for nationals of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
- Emphasize the importance of fair recruitment and decent work as well as accountability for those who abuse these principles in both countries – including for nationals of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
- Further facilitate the availability of temporary agricultural and non-agricultural employment in the United States and in Mexico.
- Explore support for the new Mexican Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare’s National Employment Service platform, which aims to organize and present labor mobility options including information on worker rights, protections, and resources for Mexican nationals looking for work in the United States.
Another important victory for migrant workers in the United States occurred on January 13th, when DHS announced an expedited deferred action process as an immigration relief measure for noncitizen workers who witness or are victims of labor rights violations. The announcement comes in response to demands from the migrant worker movement and advocacy work carried out by PERIPLO partner organization, Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. (CDM).
The immigration relief measure offers protection to noncitizen workers, no matter their immigration status, so that they can report exploitative and abusive employers without fear of immigration-related retaliation. Individuals granted deferred action may also be eligible for work authorization in the US.
“An expedited deferred action process is crucial for migrant workers, including those with temporary work visas, to exercise their rights. It reduces the incentives for employers to pressure or threaten workers based on their immigration status. Workers can speak up and file legal complaints while remaining in the United States,” said Rachel Micah-Jones, founder and executive director of CDM.
The expedited deferred action process is the result of years-long, collective advocacy efforts by civil society organizations and workers. The DHS announcement is a huge step in the right direction, but the implementation of the immigration relief measure must be tracked and monitored to ensure that it benefits migrant workers.
PERIPLO celebrates these policy advances that will allow migrant agricultural workers in Mexico and the United States to exercise and defend their rights, no matter their immigration status.
MEDIA RELATIONS CONTACT
#debidadiligencia #cadenasdesuministro #contratacionequitativa