ERI Advocacy for Immigration Reform: US announces changes to Guest Worker Program

The Edmund Rice International (ERI) submission for the Universal Periodic Review of the United States at the UN Human Rights Council in November 2010 focused on the issue of Guest Workers. The ERI submission was based on a report prepared by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The New York Times of February 11th, 2012 reported on new guidelines for Guest Workers recently announced by the United States Labor Department.

The changes were hailed by advocates for guest workers, who said they would make it more difficult for businesses to exploit vulnerable foreign migrants and hire them to undercut Americans.

“Over all, we think these rules are a huge step forward,” said Jennifer J. Rosenbaum, the legal director of the National Guestworker Alliance, which is based in New Orleans. “They remove incentives to try to get around hiring an unemployed American by hiring exploitable guest workers instead.” She pointed to new provisions ensuring that migrants can raise complaints and consult with unions over work conditions without retaliation from employers.

This encouraging result gives another glimpse of the potential for advocacy. In partnership with many colleagues at the UN and elsewhere, Edmund’s charism here has extended its reach through several layers of government and contributed to the lifting of burdens from those marginalized and obscured by crushing economic inequality.

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