Laborers or Criminals? The Impact of Crimmigration on Labor Standards Enforcement
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Griffith, Kati L.
[Excerpt] As we examine the criminalization of immigration, commonly referred to as “crimmigration” (Stumpf, 2006), it is essential to consider its impact on other areas of law and policy that involve immigrants but are not traditionally thought of as formal elements of either criminal law or immigration law. Why? As Hortensia’s story illustrates, crimmigration may unexpectedly affect protections and rights that relate to immigrants’ experiences but come from other areas of law and policy. This chapter explores the impact of crimmigration on labor standards enforcement. By labor standards enforcement, the chapter refers mainly to the wage and hour, health and safety, anti-employment discrimination, and collective activity protections that emerge when an employee performs labor for an employer. At the federal level, the statutes that provide these rights include the National Labor Relations Act (1935), the Fair Labor Standards Act (1938), the Civil Rights Act (1964), the Occupation Safety and Health Act (1970) and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Workers Protection Act (1983). Most of these federal protections have state counterparts that provide equal or greater protections. Thus, labor standards protections generally come from the labor and employment law regime and arise because of the existence of an employment relationship, regardless of immigration status. As this chapter will illustrate, the crimmigration dynamic threatens to negatively affect these longstanding and baseline workplace protections in a number of ways.
immigration; criminalization; crimmigration; immigration law; labor standards; enforcement
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