Sign onto this petition to tell Maryland legislators to support SB 742, a decisive action in our fight for migrant workers’ rights. With support from allies and migrant workers across borders, we can pass SB 742 — a first step in addressing the abuse faced by migrant workers in Maryland.
By clicking on the petition in the box below, you will be sending the following email to members of Maryland’s Senate Finance Committee.
We have less than a week to stand with migrant workers in Maryland. Two weeks ago, the Senate Finance Committee heard SB 742: The Fair Recruitment and Transparency Act. In order for the bill to have the best chance of being enacted, it needs to make it out of the Senate Finance Committee this week.
We need your support to push the Committee to vote YES on the bill.
Every year thousands of migrant workers on H-2 and J-1 visas arrive in Maryland. From farmworkers and crab pickers to landscapers and resort attendants, migrant workers often face abuse from the moment they’re recruited in their home communities — they’re at risk for trafficking and exploitation.
They are folks like twenty-one-year-old Laura Ferrer, who in 2019 arrived indebted to Ocean City, MD under the J-1 Summer Work Travel program. Every week, she worked three jobs and an average of 96 hours a week to pay off the loan she took out to pay for the program fees. She lived with at least forty other J-1 workers in a windowless warehouse.
As Maryland residents, we should protect the workers who hold those visas and sustain local industries. SB 742: The Fair Recruitment and Transparency Act will protect migrant workers on H-2 visas by:
- Prohibiting discrimination in recruitment, hiring, and job assignments;
- Banning recruitment fees to prevent workers from arriving indebted and more vulnerable to coercive labor conditions; and
- Requiring the licensing of recruiters and the creation of a registry to ensure workers know who they are working with.
It also calls for a state workgroup to study the J-1 program in Maryland to protect workers like Laura.
Every worker in Maryland deserves to be treated with respect and dignity–I am asking you to please vote YES on SB 742. Welcoming migrant workers to our communities means doing everything we can to make sure they don’t face trafficking, exploitation or discrimination.