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Hard work is being done to reduce US employer abuse (sometimes akin to slavery) of foreign migrant workers. This abuse undermines the bargaining power of US workers, and depresses every economic sector that depends on consumption by workers (not to mention the government programs that depend on taxes from workers’ income and consumption).  

Founded in 2005, and now hitting its stride just in time to ensure that migrant workers’ voices are heard in the impending discussion of immigration reform, is the Center for Migrants´ Rights (“CDM” per its Spanish name: Centro de los Derechos del Migrante).  Its profile, programs and publications are detailed at:

Abuse cuts far beyond undocumented laborers; even visa-holding migrants are often cheated out of their wages and denied their other rights. Even when wages or other funds are recovered, if a migrant worker has already left the country, remitting the funds to him or her has been subject to onerous fees and costs. CDM has created a lower cost remittance channel, and this month has published

“Money Transfers to Mexico: A Manual Examining the Transfer of Funds from U.S. Advocates to Clients in Mexico,” in collaboration with the American University Washington College of Law Immigrant Justice Clinic and the Global Workers’ Justice Alliance.
CDM has promoted transparency, education and worker self-organization, notably as a
founding member organization of the Alianza Nacional de Campesinas (National Farmworker Women’s Alliance).

CDM is the chair of the International Labor Recruitment Working Group (ILRWG), which

strives to ensure that all internationally recruited workers enjoy the same benefits and protections as all domestic workers, to be achieved through supply chain transparency, corporate accountability and cross-sector advocacy.
This is a great time to help through a donation (of any size) to CDM’s End of Year Fundraising Campaign. Its home page at  is set up to enable donations through PayPal and credit card.  

Donations by check can be made to

“Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc.” mailing address: 519 North Charles Street, Suite 260, Baltimore, MD 21201 USA

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Comment Preferences

  •  The quickest way to increase (0+ / 0-)

    the value of each worker is to reduce the number such that each remaining worker will be more precious.  

    A long as there is a legal way to bypass the U.S. workforce in favor of a group with less rights, corporations will do this.

    If a corporation/farm  has no choice but to rely on the available workforce, then they will be forced to pay whatever the market will bear.

    If such corporation/farm cannot make a profit by paying a livable wage to attract workers, their product or service should be discontinued.

    •  Indeed, availability of "group with less rights" (0+ / 0-)

      is the problem in theory.

      This theory is supplemented in practice by the fact that much of the cost-saving abuse of this group is not through a "legal way", but instead through breaking unenforced laws and exploiting loopholes.  

      Thus, closing loopholes and enforcing laws would reduce the cost-saving abuses and would reduce the bypassing of the US workforce.

      Re: "their product or service should be discontinued"

      Before discontinuation of a product or service, other possibilities include:

      1. livable worker wages more investment in technology, handled by more-skilled workers, and more need to provide skills to workers;

      2. lower profit margins (many abusive employers have high profits);

      3. higher prices (i.e., spreading the costs to customers and ultimately to consumers);

      4. reduced market share (i.e., being rejected by a portion of customers and consumers).

      This list (off the top of my head) merely hints at the massive literature on all of these issues.

      US laws are made partly on the basis of choosing anticipated trade-offs among these possibilities.  A big part of the present problems is that the trade-offs chosen through the US lawmaking process are then undermined by illegal activity by particular employers, who put competitive pressure on other employers to follow their lead.

      Thus, reversing or at least slowing this process, and creating more transparency and consistency in the trade-offs involved, would have economic and legal (as well as moral) benefits.

      •  None of your advice can be enforced (0+ / 0-)

        on corporations.  They don't want to hear about alternatives. They want cheaper and cheaper labor.

        The government has already passed laws yet they won't enforce them.

        Just having e-verify mandatory at the federal level and the penalties enforced, would solve the problem.

        How do citizens get their government to enforce laws it has already passed?

        •  CDM helps civil enforcement of existing laws, (0+ / 0-)

          (such as claims for unpaid wages).

          CDM also collects and publishes information to support lobbying for improvements in laws and enforcement mechanisms, both directly and through building alliances and new organizations.

          The task is indeed difficult, and allows for only incremental successes, but these successes and the effort itself are rewarding to CDM's personnel and financial contributors.

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