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Cover for Scaling Migrant Worker Rights

Scaling Migrant Worker Rights

How Advocates Collaborate and Contest State Power

Xochitl Bada, Shannon Gleeson


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As international migration continues to rise, sending states play an integral part in "managing" their diasporas, in some cases even stepping in to protect their citizens' labor and human rights in receiving states. At the same time, meso-level institutions—including labor unions, worker centers, legal aid groups, and other immigrant advocates—are among the most visible actors holding governments of immigrant destinations accountable at the local level. The potential for a functional immigrant worker rights regime, therefore, advocates to imagine a portable, universal system of justice and human rights, while simultaneously leaning on the bureaucratic minutiae of local enforcement. Taking Mexico and the United States as entry points, Scaling Migrant Worker Rights analyzes how an array of organizations put tactical pressure on government bureaucracies to holistically defend migrant rights. The result is a nuanced, multilayered picture of the impediments to and potential realization of migrant worker rights.

University of California Press, 9780520384453, 238pp.

Publication Date: January 10, 2023

About the Author

Xóchitl Bada is Associate Professor in the Latin American and Latino Studies Program at the University of Illinois Chicago. She is author of Mexican Hometown Associations in Chicagoacán: From Local to Transnational Civic Engagement and coeditor of The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Latin America, Accountability across Borders: Migrant Rights in North America and The Routledge History of Modern Latin American Migration.

Shannon Gleeson is Professor of Labor Relations, Law, and History at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. She is author of Precarious Claims: The Promise and Failure of Workplace Protections in the United States and Conflicting Commitments: The Politics of Enforcing Immigrant Worker Rights in San Jose and Houston and coeditor of Building Citizenship from Below: Precarity, Migration, and Agency and The Nation and Its Peoples: Citizens, Denizens, Migrants.