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In May 2021, the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems published Essentially Unprotected: A Focus on Farmworker Health Laws and Policies Addressing Pesticide Exposure and Heat-Related Illness as a companion report to the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future's report Essential and in Crisis: A Review of the Public Health Threats Facing Farmworkers in the US. Both reports focused on the public health threats facing farmworkers in the United States. Essentially Unprotected specifically addressed pesticide exposure and heat-related illness, highlighting the gaps in federal law in addition to state efforts to fill those gaps.This report was conceived by farmworker advocates to expand on the research and analysis contained in Essentially Unprotected. In continued partnership with Farmworker Justice, CAFS seeks to create resources to support the expansion of laws and policy that can improve conditions for workers throughout the food system. This report is part of a series that spotlights various issues affecting farmworkers where law and policy can play a role in offering protection.The direction of this report was influenced heavily by interviews with farmworker advocates in various states. Through these conversations, it became clear that the legal and regulatory landscape of pesticide law enforcement is complex given the cooperative relationship between federal and state governments and the myriad agencies involved at both levels. This resource is intended to provide clarity on pesticide regulation enforcement efforts to enable advocates and law and policymakers to identify opportunities for improvement. It concludes with a set of recommendations to better protect the health and safety of the farmworkers who comprise an integral part of our food system
This report discusses the links between climate change and migration, and proposes a new plan—the Statue of Liberty Plan—for the US to reject nativism and instead embrace a new narrative and policies that would make the US the most welcoming country on earth for migrants and refugees. Adoption of the plan would counter authoritarian appeals, advance national economic and cultural renewal, and strengthen and protect multiracial democracy.
The expedited removal process Congress created permits border officers to order the deportation of certain individuals charged with inadmissibility under U.S. immigration law without an immigration court hearing. One component of this process, credible fear screenings, was supposed to ensure that people seeking refugee protection in the United States had an opportunity to apply for asylum and were not summarily deported to persecution or torture. Over the years however, the bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and various other organizations have documented serious deficiencies and due process concerns with the expedited removal process. Asylum seekers wrongly deported through expedited removal have been persecuted, tortured, and murdered after being returned by the United States to the country they had fled. In addition to endangering asylum seekers and violating U.S. legal obligations to refugees, the use of expedited removal wastes resources and exacerbates backlogs.Rather than use the fundamentally flawed expedited removal process, the Biden administration should instead refer asylum seekers for asylum adjudications with the Asylum Office without subjecting them to CFIs, fully restore the authority of the Asylum Office to reconsider negative credible fear determinations, and work with Congress to fund legal representation. While expedited removal remains in U.S. law, the agencies should issue regulations to reduce the risk of erroneous negative fear determinations and avoid the weaponization of expedited removal by subsequent administrations. Full recommendations can be found at the end of this report.
Comprehensive immigration reform has been "on the table" in Congress for two decades, with the last substantial reform to the legal immigration system passed in 1990 under then-President George H.W. Bush. Yet majorities of both parties view the current system as broken and support legalization for long-term undocumented residents, including Dreamers, and securing the southern border.However, polling by the Bipartisan Policy Center and Morning Consult in April and May 2021 offered a potential path forward for legislation by focusing on updating legal immigration, and economic-based immigration in particular. The polls found that Democrats, independents, and Republicans were more likely to compromise on "providing visas for immigrants supporting U.S. economy by filling positions where companies cannot find U.S. workers," than either border security or legalization. This policy was also generally ranked in the middle in salience, meaning that it is neither the most nor least important to either party, providing an opening for policymakers to finally create movement on reform.With this in mind, over several months in 2021 and 2022, BPC convened separate groups of diverse stakeholders, representing employers, labor union perspectives, and immigrant rights advocates, to discuss possible reforms to the United States' lesser-skilled and high-skilled legal immigration systems. The groups considered what the legal immigration system might look like if designed from the ground up, instead of thinking about tweaks to the existing system. What follows is an overview of the conclusions we have drawn from these meetings that might provide a framework for future legal immigration reform discussions in Congress.
Since NCRP's first report describing the state of foundation funding for immigrant and refugee groups, the world has grown more dangerous for people on the move.Although COVID-19 slowed migration for a short time, climate disasters and deteriorating social, political, and economic conditions around the world have led more people to seek homes in new places. In the United States, right-wing politicians have continued their decades-long tactic of treating immigrants and refugees as political pawns. Former President Donald Trump used migrants as an easy scapegoat for division, effectively zeroing the country's refugee resettlement goals throughout his presidential term. In 2021, Customs and Border Protection officers on horseback were caught on camera using whips to drive Haitian asylum seekers away. Several Republican governors sent buses or planes misleading migrants north in a craven political stunt. And after 10 years of instability, the Supreme Court looks poised to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for good, meaning more than 600,000 people who have built their lives in the United States will become vulnerable to deportation. These attacks are unfair and harmful not only to people moving across borders, but to all of us.NCRP's new data shows that more funders participate in pro-immigrant and pro-refugee philanthropic spaces today than they did in the past. This is progress, but it's far from enough. NCRP also found that the pro-immigrant, pro-refugee movement's share of all foundation grants has shrunk 11% since DACA was first introduced, even as foundations themselves have grown richer. Too many foundations and major donors have ignored groups that are adept at advocating for their communities and holding political leaders accountable. Because of this, the migrant community – and our country – face more precarity today.In the last few years alone, pro-immigrant and pro-refugee groups have resettled refugees from Afghanistan and Ukraine, advocated for the specific needs of queer migrants, organized Black-led groups in a model of mutual aid, strengthened safeguards for our democracy and focused attention on urgent climate emergencies, all while sounding a constant message of welcome. Migrant organizations, especially movement advocacy groups, have done this in the face of an increasingly hostile political environment with extremely limited resources because funders have fallen short.Now more than ever, foundations must move with intention and urgency to center, support and follow the lead of the pro-immigrant and pro-refugee movement.This isn't just the right thing to do. It's also necessary if funders hope to meet their racial justice commitments, support dignity for all and reach groups with underappreciated solutions for each of their "issue" portfolios.NCRP hopes this tool, informed by the deep wisdom of so many community and philanthropic leaders, will help move the philanthropic sector toward justice.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a problem with discriminatory profiling. Too often, it relies on religious, ethnic, or racial stereotypes in carrying out its expansive counterterrorism mandate, as well as its other functions. DHS agents question Muslim travelers about their religious views when they enter the United States and single out Latino communities for detention and deportation. They detain Americans at the border simply based on their country of birth. Officers charged with identifying potentially risky travelers by looking for suspicious behaviors have said that the scientifically discredited program they used amounted to a back door for racial profiling. The administration has disavowed anti-extremism programs that wrongly assumed that Muslims are predisposed to terrorism, and yet DHS continues to fund similar initiatives.DHS must strengthen its nondiscrimination rules, ensure that those rules cover all its activities, and develop effective accountability mechanisms. Building on our recommendations in A Course Correction for Homeland Security: Curbing Counterterrorism Abuses, this report proposes a model policy that would close current gaps. The secretary of homeland security has the authority to adopt such a policy and should waste no time in doing so.
This report provides an overview of the impacts of the U.S. asylum system on disabled children and adults; explores legal issues at the intersection of immigration and disability; and offers recommendations for applying existing disability civil rights protections, such as the ADA, to assist disabled asylum-seekers through the process of gaining permanent legal status.
What this report finds: The H-2B program—which allows U.S. employers to hire migrant workers for temporary and seasonal jobs—is growing and will reach its largest size ever in 2022. At the same time, mass violations of wage and hour laws are being committed in the industries that employ H-2B workers. Department of Labor data show that nearly $1.8 billion was stolen from workers employed in the main H-2B industries (which includes both U.S. and migrant workers) between 2000 and 2021.Why it matters: The Biden administration has been increasing the size of the H-2B program while H-2B workers are in a vulnerable situation. Their precarious immigration status makes it difficult for them to complain when their employers break the law. This report is timely because the Biden administration is currently considering new changes to the H-2B program.What can be done about it: The Biden administration can issue new regulations that protect H-2B workers and that screen out and prohibit employers from hiring through H-2B if they have a track record of violating wage and hour and labor laws. The administration can also issue new rules to protect workers from employer retaliation and can issue better wage rules.
The Economic Empowerment Team for U.S. Programs at the IRC worked on this report to illustrate the economic experiences and potential projected impact of Afghans who arrived through Operations Allies Welcome. This study revealed that Afghan parolees in the United States could contribute up to $200 million in taxes and $1.4 billion in earnings in their first year of employment alone.
U.S. cities and towns have responded to COVID-19 in ways that are as diverse as the communities they aim to support. This report looks at how two very different locations—Worthington, MN, and the greater Houston area—incorporated immigrants into their relief efforts, through partnerships, strategic outreach, targeted assistance, and more. The report also highlights useful lessons for responses to future emergencies.
This report summarizes the content shared by experts during its Environmental Justice Symposium, held May 17th and 18th, 2022, as well as promising practices and policy recommendations to address the impacts of the climate crisis on farmworkers. The virtual Symposium brought together subject matter experts and participants representing health, legal, academic, environmental, and other organizations to discuss how the climate crisis is affecting farmworker communities and to develop actionable recommendations and best practices for health centers, farmworker-serving organizations, and state and federal agencies. Recordings of the Environmental Justice Symposium presentations are available on Farmworker Justice's website
Each year, hundreds of thousands of individuals fleeing persecution arrive in the United States and begin the process of claiming asylum, while other undocumented immigrants in the United States encounter Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Although many of these individuals end up in ICE detention, a large subset of them are released and enrolled in the Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program as they await a decision on their case or deportation. As opposed to remaining in a physical detention center, those enrolled in the ATD program are electronically monitored through ankle monitors, telephone calls, and smartphone applications.As the Biden administration has worked to reform an immigration system impeded by Trump-era policies that criminalized undocumented immigrants and asylum-seekers and expanded immigration detention, the ATD program has rapidly grown. In fact, as of June 2022, a record number of almost 280,000 undocumented immigrants and asylum-seekers have been enrolled in ATD, and the Biden administration plans to double this number by the end of 2023.This is an important step toward reducing the country's costly reliance on immigration detention, which severely harms immigrants and asylum-seekers by separating them from their families, communities, and critical services as they fight their legal cases to remain in the country.However, the expansion of the ATD program raises a new set of privacy and civil liberty concerns. Namely, there is growing concern that enrolled immigrants and asylum-seekers may experience the program as "e-carceration," or a different form of detention, due to its invasive surveillance measures and mobility restrictions.To address this, the Biden administration must reconsider how it implements the ATD program as it works to build a more fair, humane, and functional immigration system that respects due process and the dignity of immigrants and asylum-seekers. Specifically, less restrictive, community-based approaches to administering the ATD program hold the most promise for providing immigrants and asylum-seekers with support, while also promoting voluntary compliance with immigration authorities. Instead of relying on electronic monitoring, which has become synonymous with the ATD program, the alternatives detailed in this report operate using case management models that offer wraparound social and legal support to immigrants and asylum-seekers as they resolve their cases.