Recruitment Revealed: Fundamental Flaws in the H-2 Temporary Worker Program

Over 100,000 temporary workers are recruited abroad for employment in theUnited Stateseach year under the H-2 temporary worker program.  Policymakers view theU.S.guestworker programs, including the H-2 temporary worker program, as a central component of immigration reform in 2013.  Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. (CDM) released a report Recruitment Revealed:  Fundamental Flaws in the H-2 Temporary Worker Program and Recommendations for Change, which exposes substantial defects in the current H-2 program’s recruitment systems and proposes changes that will prevent worker exploitation and abuse.
The report explains that many temporary workers are routinely subjected to fraud, charged illegal fees, and threatened, intimidated, and mistreated by recruiters and employers. «Temporary workers are important participants in theU.S.economy and deserve to be treated with dignity,» said Rachel Micah-Jones, CDM’s Executive Director.  «By maintaining or expanding the H-2 worker visa programs as they currently operate, theU.S.will continue to place temporary workers and their families at risk for exploitation.»
The report is the result of an intensive, multi-source investigative study that involved over 220 lengthy interviews with workers, requests pursuant to governmental transparency laws in theU.S.andMexico, and institutional surveys.  H-2 workers are employed in industries such as agriculture, landscaping, forestry and hospitality.  Until now, little has been understood about the conditions under which migrant workers are recruited for these jobs.  To increase transparency in recruitment, an interactive online tool is being launched along with the report.  This tool details abuses uncovered through the study and allows the public to report recruitment abuses online.
Support for the study, report and interactive online tool was provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and theSolidarityCenter.  The study was conducted to gain deeper insight into the experiences of H-2 temporary workers during their recruitment inMexicoand employment in theUnited States.

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