We’re kicking off a momentous week in the fight for migrant justice. U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will be arriving in Mexico this evening to meet Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and discuss migration, labor and trade. For months, both leaders have floated the idea of expanding guestworker programs as a “quick fix” to the failures of our asylum system.
While promising to address the root causes of migration, the Biden-Harris administration announced an increase in H-2B temporary work visas, carving out thousands for people from the Northern Triangle of Central America (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador).
But for those facing human rights abuses, poverty and the effects of climate change — the real root causes of migration — guestworker programs represent a channel to exploitation.
Any proposal relating to labor migrations should reflect immigrants’ voices, experiences and priorities. Asylum seekers need safety and permanence. And internationally recruited workers need visa programs that shift control from employers to workers, elevate labor standards, respect family unity, ensure equity and access to justice.
And CDM took to the pages of publications across borders to make that point: In an op-ed published last week in The Hill, Executive Director Rachel Micah-Jones argues that VP Harris should not be tempted by easy fixes that would exacerbate inequities in our immigration system. You can read the op-ed here.
And CDM Communications and Development Director Evy Peña published an op-ed on Friday in Newsweek México denouncing efforts by countries to dodge their obligations to asylum seekers by funneling them into troubled guestworker programs. Read it here.
Today, Evy will be at the Senado de la República (Mexican Senate) speaking at a press conference alongside Maritza Pérez, co-petitioner of the USMCA gender discrimination complaint we filed in March.
We’ll have a recap soon of the event in the Senate and more on our efforts to advocate for solutions that prioritize the human rights of migrant workers and asylum seekers.