From the 2013 News Archive
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Clinic Students and Faculty Expose Systematic Abuse of Internationally Recruited Workers

Three students and their professor hope that their work in UM Carey Law’s International and Comparative Law Clinic will reduce or eliminate the fraud, forced labor, human trafficking and other abuses that occur when foreign nationals are recruited to work in the United States.

To achieve that goal, students Jessica Killeen,’13, Catherine Gonzalez,’13, and Kate Brown worked with Adjunct Professor Rachel Micah-Jones to research and draft much of “The American Dream Up For Sale: A Blueprint for Ending International Labor Recruitment Abuse,” a report released February 5 by the International Labor Recruitment Working Group (ILRWG), an 18-member coalition of labor, migrant rights and anti-trafficking groups. The coalition includes Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. (CDM), which Micah-Jones directs.   

The report comes on the heels of new immigration proposals under discussion in Congress and the White House.  It calls for an end to the wide-spread abuse and asks Congress to consider the coalition’s blueprint for change as the drafting of an immigration reform bill begins.

The report includes two key findings:

1.       Regardless of visa category, employment sector, race, gender or national origin, internationally recruited workers face disturbingly common patterns of recruitment abuse, including fraud, discrimination, severe economic coercion, retaliation, blacklisting, and, in some cases, forced labor, indentured servitude, debt bondage, and human trafficking.

2.       Disparate rules and requirements for workers, employers, and recruiters, as well as lax enforcement of the regulations that do exist, allow and even incentivize recruiters and employers to engage in abuses.

“Abuse is rampant under the current international worker programs and visa categories,” said Micah-Jones. “Congress can no longer pretend that the problems are limited to certain work programs or visa types.”

The following organizations produced the report: AFL-CIO, American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. (CDM), the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), Department for Professional Employees (DPE), Economic Policy Institute (EPI), Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), Farmworker Justice, Global Workers Justice Alliance, National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), National Employment Law Project (NELP), National Guestworker Alliance (NGA), Safe Horizon, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Solidarity Center, Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), UNITE HERE, and Verité.


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500 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1786 PHONE: (410) 706-7214 FAX: (410) 706-4045 / TDD: (410) 706-7714

Copyright © 2014, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. All Rights Reserved