Dear Friends,

Our work these past few months truly epitomizes our vision for how to achieve migrant justice.

We believe that migrant workers’ rights need to be included in the renegotiated NAFTA and that migrants’ rights must be respected across borders. CDM has been planning – in Mexico and the US – a multi-level campaign to mobilize allies, migrant workers and legislators to push for labor protections under NAFTA. One of our primary goals is to make sure that migrant

workers’ voices are reflected in the policies that affect them. Our testimony at recent federal government hearings on the renegotiation of NAFTA shows what we can do when working together. We mobilized quickly, we enlisted powerful supporters and we delivered strong, powerful messages about our experiences advocating under the current NAFTA.

There is still much work to do, but we are optimistic, in large part due to your support. Our staff and board are inspired by your strength and commitment to our cause. Thank you for sharing our goals and for honoring us with your continued support.

Want to join our fight? Make a donation to support CDM’s efforts today.

In Solidarity,

Rachel Micah-Jones
Executive Director
Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc

Will the New NAFTA Include Protections for Migrant Workers?

On June 28, we fought for migrant workers’ rights as CDM representatives testified at the United States Trade Representative’s hearing on the renegotiation of NAFTA. Executive Director Rachel Micah-Jones and Policy Director Elizabeth Mauldin were joined by NAALC co-petitioners from CDM’s Migrant Defense Committee, Adareli Ponce Hernandez and Leonardo Cortez Vitela, in calling for the inclusion of migrant worker rights and transnational access to justice in the agreement. Their important position argued that NAFTA and its current labor side accord have failed to provide adequate worker protections.


Leonardo Cortez, a migrant worker and member of the Migrant Defense Committee, expressed his disillusionment with the U.S. government’s response to his complaint under the NAFTA side accord when his rights were violated as a migrant worker in the US. “I feel a big failure was that I never got to know the status of my complaint and that governments made the decision without consulting us.”

Rachel Micah-Jones testified as Chair the International Labor Recruitment Working Group (ILRWG), a coalition of organizations that advocates for transparency in labor recruitment to decrease workers’ vulnerability to trafficking and other forms of labor exploitation. Her participation in the hearing was just one of a series steps for the Working Group. In April, members of the ILRWG held a Congressional briefing on systemic abuses across visa categories, following several proposals pertaining to migrant workers, including the expansion of H-2 visa programs.


On the eve of the USTR hearings, CDM led a strategy meeting with allies in organizations from the tri-national trade corridor. During the convening, trade and labor expert Kim Nolan provided training on NAFTA and its labor side accord.


The following day, CDM’s team and members of the Migrant Defense Committee met with key members of the Senate Finance Committee in an effort to educate policymakers about the NAALC process and how existing processed in NAFTA renegotiation could be improved.


CDM in Action

Mexico City

On June 30, Legal Director Ben Botts, Outreach Coordinator Claudia Cruz and Volunteer Austin Gassen led a workshop for the personnel of the Citizen Advisory Modules located at the four bus stations in Mexico City on H-2 visas and recruitment fraud They offered station staff insight on how to provide people who have been defrauded with useful information and how to encourage them to use — CDM’s anti-trafficking platform for migrant workers.


CDM’s Lilian Lopez, Claudia Cruz, Sara Geurtsen and Evy Pena traveled to Monterrey, where they talked to over 400 workers outside the U.S. Consulate’s Centro de Atención a Solicitantes (Applicant Service Center) and led several workshops about labor rights, fraud prevention and


Outreach Workers Adelina Vásquez and Rebeca Rodríguez from CDM’s Oaxaca team led a workshop for farmworker women who recently worked in Florida and North Carolina with H-2A visas; the women are the first in their community to travel to the U.S. under this visa program. The purpose of this session was to inform migrant worker women about their rights under the H-2A visa program, as well as strategies to defend those rights, including seeking legal recourse. Additionally, our team talked about working with pesticides, gender-based discrimination and workplace sexual assault, and resources in the U.S. for migrant worker women.

Our Oaxaca staff conducted Know Your Rights workshops in San Bartolome Quialana, San Lucas Quiavini, Magdalena Teitipac and Santa Ana del Valle. The team also conducted monthly outreach with migrant workers in Santa María Yucunicoco and neighboring communities. Young students and former H-2B workers approached our information booth, where our team explained labor rights and, and handed out know-your-rights materials about fair wages, discrimination, and labor trafficking.


Our staff visited communities in Veracruz, Guanajuato and Hidalgo to advance justice across borders by engaging in a range of activities, including providing case support, leading Know Your Rights workshops and presenting Contratados.

Claudia Cruz and Evy Pena went to Alfajayucan, Hidalgo to speak to a group of community leaders, migrant workers and their family members about labor rights, the current U.S. political context and its implications on H-2 visa programs and strategies to protect workers during raids.