Today, Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. submitted the following petition signed by 98 individuals and organizations to the Office of the United States Trade Representative to demand that migrant workers’ rights are protected in the NAFTA renegotiation. Signatories included migrant workers, and labor and migrant rights advocates across borders.
Office of the United States Trade Representative
600 17th St., NW
Washington, DC 20006
October 17, 2017
To U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer:
We, the undersigned, urge you to include protections for migrant workers in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). At this critical moment in the negotiation process, we hope you will strengthen laws that protect migrant workers, increase access to justice, and improve transparency in the complaint process under NAFTA.
NAFTA impacts the lives and working conditions of the hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who labor in the United States every year. Many workers choose to migrate to the U.S. on temporary work visas because of the shortage of economic opportunities in their home communities. For many Mexicans, the U.S. guestworker programs are an opportunity to provide for their families. Workers migrate on temporary work visas that lack protections, lack monitoring and meaningful enforcement, and lack access to justice. It’s an unfair choice for these workers who often know they will face exploitation in the United States.
Migrant workers are a particularly vulnerable labor sector given the workplace and recruitment abuses that they suffer, the language barriers they face, and the challenges of accessing effective cross-border justice. Both in their recruitment in Mexico and employment in the U.S., migrant workers, whose visas are tied to a single employer, face economic coercion, discrimination, wage theft, retaliation, and other abuses that can rise to the level of human trafficking.
As NAFTA is renegotiated, we urge you to include protections for migrant workers!
Rachel Micah-Jones, Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc.
Elizabeth Mauldin, Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc.
Benjamin Botts, Centro de los Derechos del Migrante
Natalia Thompson, Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc.
Evy Peña, Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc.
Nate Zeff, The Nabisco 600
Susan Scott, National Lawyers Guild
Adam Krosnick, Constance Abbey
Rossy Antúnez, ODA Otros Dreams en Acción
Russell Lum, Oregon Fair Trade Campaign
Nikhil Shimpi, Public Citizen
Rebeca Zuniga, Denver Justice and Peace Committee
Liz King, Greater Boston Trade Justice
Javier López Trejo, Comité de Defensa del Migrante
Karen Lissette Márquez Pacheco, Comité de Defensa del Migrante
Jorge Palafox, Comité de Defensa del Migrante
Carolyn Bninski, Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center
Ken Wolkin, Worker Justice Center of New York, Inc
Catherine Hunt, Progressive Democrats of America, NJ Chapter
Karl Kramer, San Francisco Living Wage Coalition
Larry Stoodt, 350 Massachu
Kathleen Hopkins, Replace NAFTA.org
Barbara Clancy, Greater Boston Trade Justice
Ellen Baumgartner, North Congregational United Church of Christ
Elise Roberts, Witness for Peace
Sister Elizabeth Carpentier, OSU, Ursuline Sisters
Rosemarie Pace, Pax Christi Metro New York
Margaret Gould, CLC
Selden Prentice, 350 Seattle
Liz Moldan, Witness for Peace-Midwest
Susan Nichols, St. Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America
Kristi Magdaleno, Austin Community College
Anna Woodbury, American Postal Workers Union
Donald Zeigler, PhD
Steven L. Varnis
Caitrin McKee, Polaris
Ashley Tarbet DeStefano
Guillermo Guevara Lopez
Anna Lucia Sepulveda
José Antonio Peña