Brokering Immigrant Worker Rights: An Examination of Local Immigration Control, Administrative Capacity and Civil Society
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We know a great deal about the clash between federal immigration and labour standards enforcement directives, but less regarding how these two processes are functioning at the local level and the role that demographic factors and civil society play. This article examines the impact of a climate of local immigration enforcement on worker legal mobilisation in metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the USA. I focus on national origin discrimination and find that MSAs with a 287(g) agreement within their boundaries have lower claims rates. Conversely, claims rates are higher in MSAs where an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) agency is present. Interactive models suggest a positive dynamic of demographic insulation, whereby the negative effect of local immigration enforcement on claims-making is diminished in more heavily Latino immigrant places, and the negative impact of a larger Latino immigrant workforce is mitigated with the presence of an enforcement agency. Civil society has a positive impact on claims-making, but with no evidence that 287(g) MSAs with varying concentrations of civil society fare any better or worse. While previous research has concluded a positive impact of 501c(3) organisations on legal mobilisation, this more localised perspective reveals the continuing relevance of labour unions.
worker legal mobilization; local immigration enforcement; civil society
Required Publisher Statement: © Taylor & Francis. Final version published as: Gleeson, S. (2015). Brokering immigrant worker rights: An examination of local immigration control, administrative capacity and civil society [Electronic version]. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 41(3), 470-492. doi:10.1080/1369183X.2014.921568 Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.