Undocumented Workers

Citation metadata

Editor: Patrick L. Mason
Date: 2013
Encyclopedia of Race and Racism
From: Encyclopedia of Race and Racism(Vol. 4. 2nd ed.)
Publisher: Gale, a Cengage Company
Document Type: Topic overview
Pages: 7
Content Level: (Level 5)

Document controls

Main content

Full Text: 
Page 207

Undocumented Workers

Movements of people across territories and geographical boundaries are an inherent aspect of the history of humanity. People move within and across regions to improve their quality of life, provide better opportunities to their children, or flee poverty, war, and starvation. In many cases, it is precisely the precarious situation of workers in their home community that instigates their movement and eventual undocumented settlement elsewhere. Their vulnerability and sense of powerlessness—a result of the manner in which they are racialized and criminalized through their “illegality”—make undocumented workers the targets of human rights abuse and among the most ill-treated individuals on the planet.

The United Nations estimated that international migrants increased from 195 million in 2005 to 214 million in 2010, of which females comprised 49 percent. Approximately 128 million international migrants (six out of every ten) reside in developed countries, and most of them (74 million) originated in developing countries. Furthermore, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) calculates that the international migration pool will consist of 405 million people by 2050 (IOM 2010). While Europe reported the highest numbers of migrants in 2010 at 77.1 million, significant rising trends were also evident in Oceania, the Middle East, and Asia. The United States, however, still hosts the most migrants of any single country (42.8 million migrants in 2010, around a fifth of all migrants). Other top-ten host nations include the Russian Federation (6.4%), Germany (5.3%), Ukraine (3.6%), France (3.4%), Saudi Arabia (3.3%), Canada (3.2%), India (3.0%), the United Kingdom (2.8%), Spain (2.5%), and Australia (2.2%).

Although the numbers of undocumented workers are difficult to specify, indirect evidence, such as a decrease in remittance flow, reveals a reduction of undocumented migration. The United Nations estimates that the US reduction of undocumented migration started in 2007 and accelerated in 2008. A similar situation has been observed in the European Union, with an additional increase in departures of undocumented migrants. The IOM further reports that 10 to 15 percent of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries' migrant population was undocumented (IOM 2010).

INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION

The great economic disparity between the United States and its southern neighbor, Mexico, resulted in probably the longest nearly uninterrupted history of migration in the twentieth century. In 2000, Mexico had the second-highest emigration (10.1 million) of any country in the world, behind only the Russian Federation (21.1 million). According to the PEW Hispanic Center, 6.3 million undocumented immigrants from Mexico live in the United States (of the 11 million estimated to be undocumented in the country), and approximately 485,000 arrive every year.

One of the key pieces of legislation of the twentieth century in the United States was the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986, which provided many undocumented workers with the opportunity to legalize their immigration status. This legislation Page 208  |  Top of Articleintroduced for the first time federal penalties against employers who knowingly hired undocumented workers. However, in practice this legislation only required that employers demonstrate that the verification procedure was fulfilled. Determining the legitimacy of documents presented in the verification process was not contemplated as a responsibility of employers. This situation stimulated a burgeoning business in the production and sale of fraudulent documents, inflicting additional expenses and greater legal liability upon migrant workers while protecting employers from any penalty (De Genova 2002). The state of “illegality” that this legislation generated was, consequently, instrumental in characterizing immigration as the new social problem of the United States.

The nativist and anti-immigrant sentiment that has been a result of varying economic and sociopolitical agendas in the United States before and since the passage of IRCA led to legal and social backlash in a variety of forms. Although Mexican undocumented workers form an essential component of the labor force in the United States, the legal and discursive conditions of “illegality” mean that undocumented workers are consistently under attack and on the margins of the nation-state. More recently, and under the banner of national security after the attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, Mexican immigrants have become the target of harassment and scapegoats for anti-immigrant policies and legislation. Interestingly enough, at the core of the debate is not the supply of labor that Mexicans provide the United States, but the incorporation of individuals and their families into the cultural fabric of the country and the granting of citizenship rights. Similar cases are also seen in Taiwan, where the children and spouses of Filipina domestic workers are denied entry into the country (Salazar Parreñas 2001, p. 1134).

Rather than address questions of incorporation and citizenship rights, a revolving-door policy, “whereby mass deportations are concurrent with an overall, large-scale, more or less permanent importation of Mexican migrant labor,” has been maintained in the United States (De Genova 2002, p. 433). Selective law enforcement at the border, juxtaposed with seasonal labor demand by US employers, has resulted in the historical sociopolitical category of “illegal alien.” This sociohistorical process has been infused with a racialized “other” discourse that has become an integral component of the racial conception of “Mexicans” in the United States.

Although Spain does not possess the lengthy migratory history of the United States, it does have one of the highest and fastest-growing immigrant populations, with the numbers skyrocketing from just 277,000 in 1990 to 5,220,000 in 2008. Romanians, Moroccans, and Ecuadorians make up the three largest immigrant groups respectively (González-Enríquez 2009). According to the country's data system, Padrón, a municipality register in which all undocumented migrants must enroll to receive public education and healthcare, Spain housed an estimated 300,000 to 600,000 undocumented persons in 2008. Since the early 1990s, however, Spain has been consistent in its implementation of immigration-regularization policies, with two especially important opportunities in 2000 to 2001 and 2005. One of these, in 2001, was dedicated to Ecuadorians, who at the time made up the second-largest group after Moroccans (González-Enríquez 2009). All other regularization since 2005 has relied on evidence of residency over five years. Together with these efforts, Spain instituted the Ley Orgánica (Organic Law), legislation passed in 2000 that stipulated that all immigrants be granted public services, including public education and medical care, despite immigration status.

Spain's migration policies have become consistently stricter as the economy has declined. Spain had the highest forced-removal numbers in 2007 and 2008 of any country in the European Union (at about 46,000 and 57,000 respectively) (IOM 2010). To further curtail the numbers of undocumented workers, Spain implemented a “voluntary” return plan for undocumented migrants in 2008, along with labor inspections, border controls, and agreements with sending countries. There was a 90-percent drop in the recruitment of nonseasonal workers in 2009 compared to the previous year, and economic incentives were introduced to persuade migrants to leave Spain for a minimum of three years (IOM 2010). In collaboration with the Ecuadorian government, for example, Spain has facilitated the return of Ecuadorian migrants back to their country, and training programs have been introduced in Spain that would lead to the return of Ecuadorians to the agricultural sector in Ecuador.

Because of a high incidence of arrivals of undocumented Moroccans by boat, a surveillance system was incorporated along the southern coasts of Spain and the Canary Islands, together with accords with Morocco that have diminished the immigration of Moroccans into Spain in the twenty-first century (González-Enríquez 2009). Although maritime entrance makes up a smaller percentage of those entering the country, public perception and mass media on events such as those that took place in 2006 with the arrival of 25,000 undocumented sub-Saharan immigrants to the Canary Islands has increased attention in that area and further ignited anti-immigrant sentiment.

The global economic crisis also had a significant effect on undocumented migrants, who have suffered the most job losses, especially Ecuadorians and Moroccans who work in the construction industry. In 2008, immigrants constituted 20 percent of Spain's unemployed in comparison to Page 209  |  Top of Article12 percent for Spaniards (González-Enríquez 2009). Moroccans, for instance, had an unemployment rate of 35 percent at the end of 2008 (Ramírez Berasategui 2008). Given that some sectors of the economy are dominated by one gender, the economic crisis has had a different impact on male and female migrant workers. For example, women have been affected by the crisis in the garment industry, electronics, and related informal service sectors such as home-based work, domestic work, and health care, which has left them more vulnerable to abuse and labor exploitation.

Take the example of Asian domestic workers in the Middle East (Gamburd 2000), Filipinas in Hong Kong and Singapore (Salazar Parreñas 2001), and Thai women in Japan, whose mobility in the receiving country is greatly restricted and controlled by stringent nation-state immigration policies, employers, and employment agencies. The gendered migration and labor of domestic workers makes them susceptible to lower wages, unpaid hours, inferior living conditions, sexual harassment, and relegation to partial citizenship status. For Filipina domestic workers in the Middle East and Asia, this has meant the monitoring and denial of their reproductive rights by prohibitions on pregnancy and marital union with native citizens, as in Singapore (Salazar Parreñas 2001). Similarly, Latin American domestic workers in Israel are placed “at the bottom of the labor market and the social order. They suffer from the worst working conditions and are generally excluded from the welfare and benefit system accorded to Israeli citizens” (Raijman, Schammah-Gesser, and Kemp 2003, p. 733).

Furthermore, with the aggravation of the financial crisis during the first decade after 2000 and the concomitant social problems (e.g., unemployment, crime, violence), many countries have found an almost universal scapegoat in the migrant worker (Tharakan 2002). The escalating manifestation of xenophobic and racist sentiments against migrants that has permeated mainstream political and public discourses is evident all over the world. One example is the nearly one-third of Spaniards suggesting immigration was one of the greatest problems in the country. This scenario is even worse for undocumented workers who have little or no bargaining power in their labor relationships. Racist and xenophobic sentiments produce a discourse of criminalization and the policing of undocumented workers.

CRIMINALIZATION OF MIGRATION

It has become common to discuss the criminalization of migration as a post-9/11 phenomenon. However, the criminalization of individuals seeking economic opportunities and political refuge is not recent. As early as 1882, the US Congress took formal measures to exclude Chinese immigrants, and with this legislation introduced its first racially driven anti-immigrant position. Since then, a host of anti-immigrant laws, propositions, and policies have been enacted that have consistently “othered” and excluded particular racial groups. Fueling this debate and the consequent criminalization of individuals whose only crime is aspiring to economic opportunities are the racist and xenophobic ideologies and perceptions that have characterized the discourse surrounding “illegal aliens,” militarization of borders, and xenophobic laws.

Receiving nations around the world present different scenarios with regard to the criminalization of undocumented workers. Discussions around “illegality,” together with an acknowledgement of the racist undertone of such discourses, have only become more apparent in European countries, like France, since around the 1990s (De Genova 2002; Fassin 2001). Immigration practices and policies reveal some differences too. Whereas in the United States, the Border Patrol began adopting apprehension and deportation practices in the 1920s, in Japan, migrant “illegality” was not a focus of the law until 1990. Attempts to regularize undocumented workers via legalization procedures, such as adjustment of status and official amnesties, were made in Australia, Canada, Venezuela, and Argentina as early as 1970. Several Western European states, including Belgium, the Netherlands, and France, conducted legalization procedures from 1974 to the early 1990s (De Genova 2002).

Although matters of national security seem to guide national policies, racial profiling continues to drive who is granted true citizenship in a foreign country. Migrants of a certain phenotype and profile are consistently among those who are treated as “undocumented”—read as outsiders and subaltern regardless of their legal status. Immigration policies and laws, for instance, have served as social control mechanisms that restrict and rarely protect citizenship rights or provide a sense of belonging. Instead, immigration policies are more likely to signal the xenophobic and racist roots of the government in power and the citizens it represents. This is clearly evident in such initiatives as Proposition 187 in California, which was approved by citizens of that state in 1994. Proposition 187 would have denied the children of undocumented immigrants, primarily those from Mexico and other Latin American countries, a public education and health care had it not been challenged in the federal courts and found unconstitutional.

At the national level, initiatives like House Resolution 4437 (the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005) targeted the human rights of, primarily, undocumented Mexican workers and their families. The initiative included such provisions as the construction of a wall along the US/Mexico Page 210  |  Top of Articleborder, the indefinite detention of those entering illegally into the United States, the stipulation that children born to undocumented individuals would become the custody of the state, and measures to criminalize anyone aiding undocumented individuals or their families. Beyond the already problematic issue of racist constructions of the “other” that these initiatives generate, whether or not they are actually implemented, the United Nations (2009) has called attention to the emotional and material repercussions of such policies. For instance, although Proposition 187 and House Resolution 4437 were never implemented, the negative perceptions that they left among the country's citizenry with regard to the population they targeted were significant, not to mention the psychosocial repercussions of these ideas and actions for the undocumented worker. Moreover, the exclusion of legal paths for the regularization of undocumented workers is concomitant to the prohibition of legal access to employment, which has a direct impact on the quality of life of the family and children of undocumented workers.

Another such policy, Arizona Senate Bill 1070 (the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act), signed into law in the state of Arizona in 2010, is considered one of the strongest anti-immigrant bills and one of the strongest attempts at criminalizing undocumented migration in US history. Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, and Utah proposed or passed similar anti-immigrant bills modeled after Arizona legislation. The intent of this legislation is to curtail the presence of undocumented immigrants in these states, most of whom are Mexicans, by requiring immigrants to carry legal documentation at all times. These initiatives also promote racial profiling by police and other public authorities who simply suspect an individual's illegality. An immediate backlash to the Arizona law led to massive pro-immigrant marches around the country and a national boycott of the state of Arizona, without avail. Interestingly enough, most similar legislation around the country has, like Arizona's law, done little to halt the entrance or functionality of undocumented workers, precisely because their target is not labor and production but the social entities and services that serve undocumented women and their children (many whom are citizens of the host country). Hence, instead of truncating the flow of undocumented workers that gives states like Arizona and California their “competitive edge” nationally and internationally, these laws aim to control women's reproduction and the education and health care of their children.

Immigration policies in the United States and Europe are not only mechanisms of social control that govern who is worthy of citizenship status; they also determine forms of belonging that go beyond legal documentation. This has been the case for Mexican and Asian immigrants in the United States and Africans and Ecuadorians in Spain, who are inevitably always considered outsiders regardless of citizenship status. As Didier Fassin asserts, “the racialized body has become the most illegitimate object of social differentiation, yet one whose existence can no longer be denied” (2001, p. 3). Belonging requires a state of acceptance and incorporation that for many racial groups teeters on the ideology that predominates in any country at any one time.

A 2009 United Nations report on the human rights of migrants states, “the criminalization of irregular migration … has proved to be at the root of ill treatment and other human rights abuse” (UN General Assembly 2009, p. 9). By criminalizing what amounts to human nature—movement and the pursuit of opportunities—states condone the pitting of them against us, which fuels xenophobia, racism, racial profiling, and the policing and surveillance of individuals by unauthorized entities. Furthermore, when immigrants remain undocumented, they are denied any form of citizenship or human rights, which consequently forces them to live in the shadows and renders them susceptible to deplorable working conditions, oppressive employers, violence, and disposability by society. Israel's labor migration policies, for instance, deny any rights to undocumented migrants, including asylum or the right of family reunification (Raijman, Schammah-Gesser, and Kemp 2003, p. 733). These prohibitive laws and punitive practices beget the need to question the role of the state and civil society in the very creation of the “illegality” of migrant people (Fassin 2001).

According to Fassin (2001), practices of racial discrimination in France are increasingly notorious in several domains: in the labor market, where employers demand bleu-blanc-rouge (literally, “blue-white-red,” the colors of the French flag, but meaning “white”) applicants; in selection criteria for private housing, where “black skin or Arabic names” are commonly deemed negative; and in the interactions of immigrant people with welfare services and other administrative bodies. In a poll conducted in 2000 in France by the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights, 70 percent of those polled indicated that they found the presence of non-European-origin people “disturbing.” The materialization of this opinion into actual acts of racial discrimination is revealed in the five-hundred calls received daily by the hotline for victims of racial discrimination.

Many would argue that the mere labeling and mass media discourse on illegality and criminalization is one form of societal violence against those most vulnerable in society. “Illegality,” conceived as a social space, conveys the notion of the “erasure of legal personhood,” which implies an imposed invisibility, exclusion, subjugation, and repression embodied in the person of the undocumented worker.

Page 211  |  Top of Article


Undocumented Immigrants, France, March 9, 2012. Members of the action group Sans Papiers des Hauts de Seine, who are undocumented immigrants, demonstrate to call for the legalization of all undocumented immigrants in France.

Undocumented Immigrants, France, March 9, 2012. Members of the action group Sans Papiers des Hauts de Seine, who are undocumented immigrants, demonstrate to call for the legalization of all undocumented immigrants in France. The vulnerability and sense of powerlessness of undocumented immigrants—a result of the manner in which they are racialized and criminalized through their “illegality”—make undocumented workers the targets of human rights abuse and among the most ill-treated individuals on the planet. JOEL SAGET/AFP/GETTY IMAGES.

This experience is depicted in Sarah Willen's quote of an undocumented worker from Ghana in Israel: “Life as an illegal foreign resident is really like living underground. You're anonymous, without a name, without an identity, without an address. You live underground, no one can know you, no one can find you” (2007, p. 9). The consequences of this erasure of personhood is manifested in the actual challenges that undocumented workers face every day, typically severe labor exploitation but also hunger, unemployment, and even violence or death (De Genova 2002, p. 427). State-issued documentation, for instance, dictates one's place with regard to the circumscription of the law. Thus, for undocumented workers, life's everyday activities are turned into instances of “illegality” and vulnerability. For example, in most US states, not possessing a driver's license is generally taken by police as reasonable evidence of a migrant worker's undocumented status. This surveillance in the public space is more incisive in bodies, movements, and spaces associated with the poor. In the United States, Europe, Canada, and Australia, this type of policing is mainly directed at those deemed as “foreigners” and racialized as nonwhite (De Genova 2002).

HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

Migration was recognized as a right as early as 1948 in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which declares that a person moving across territories is exercising the right to “freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state” and “the right to leave any country, including his [her] own, and to return to his [her] country” (Art. 13). Despite the concern evident in this and other United Nations declarations, the undocumented status of migrants makes them more susceptible to human rights abuses, such as debt bondage or the withholding of monetary compensation for work performed, the retention of worker permits, threats of deportation, and physical and sexual abuse (IOM 2010). Moreover, the racialization of immigration regardless of legal documentation ensures that migrants may also become victims of labor abuses, hyper-vigilantism, and hate crimes at the hands of abusive employers, protection agencies, and racist individuals (Lahad 2009). The sheer abuse suffered by undocumented immigrants constitutes a human rights violation and should be at the center of migration discussions, so as to directly address these injustices.

These human rights abuses are exacerbated by the role that gender plays and the current feminization of migration, especially in Europe, where 52.6 percent of migrants are women. Women also make up the majority of migrants in Oceania (51.2%) and some African countries, and particularly in Nepal (68.2%), Mauritius (63.3%), and Montenegro (61.5%), just to name a few (IOM 2010). Overall female migration has increased from 48.1 percent in 1980 to 50.1 percent in 2010 (IOM 2010, p. 154). According to the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), 80 percent of all international migrants leaving Indonesia, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka are females.

The United Nations (2009) has called for the inclusion of a gender dimension in the discussion on migration. The primary human rights violations suffered by female migrants are related to several forms of exploitation, including trafficking of persons for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Additionally, women may be expected to exchange sexual favors for protection or assistance crossing borders. Sex trafficking, domestic servitude, and forced Page 212  |  Top of Articlelabor are three of the most typical forms of exploitation targeting, by and large, young females around the world (Coonan 2004).

In the United States, Florida leads the country in the number of high-profile cases of human trafficking, including all three forms of exploitation. According to Florida Responds to Human Trafficking, a “large majority of victims of trafficking brought into the state [are likely] Caribbean, Mexican, Central American, South American, or Asian in origin” (FSU 2003, p. 29). The high-profile case of United States v. Cadena, (Case No. 98-14015-CR-RYSKAMP, US District Court, Southern District of Florida [1998]), for instance, concerned the trafficking of young Mexican girls to numerous cities in Florida. Human rights violations, such as those in Florida and other states (especially New York and California), led the US Congress in 2000 to pass the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act. However, statistics point to a continuing international epidemic where more “than 2,000,000 women around the world are bought and sold each year for the purpose of sexual exploitation,” a problem that requires global attention as a method of involuntary migration and forced labor (Tiefenbrun 2002, p. 111). These issues have become especially crucial as the demand for female labor increases and more women are among those migrating.

In this challenging context, the United Nations has advanced a rights-based approach to the management of international migration that guarantees the human rights of migrants, an effort supported by such groups as the Global Forum on Migration and Development and the Global Migration Group, together with the IOM. For instance, the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1990, recognizes migrant workers as more than laborers or economic entities, and establishes “international standards of treatment through the elaboration of the particular human rights of migrant workers and members of their families” (Tharakan 2002, p. 5081).

Despite the efforts of the United Nations and other humanitarian entities, there are “growing normative incongruities between international human rights norms, particularly as they pertain to the ‘rights of others’—immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers—and continuing assertions of territorial sovereignty” by nation-states (Benhabib 2005, p. 674). These tensions bring forward the challenge of balancing republican ideals of self-governance and the liberal ideal of the equal value of liberty. In the face of such challenges, one organization that has offered informed suggestions on the management of migration from a human rights approach is the IOM.

Undocumented workers are protected under the guise of numerous international entities, instruments, and laws. Specifically, Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights addresses rights regarding work, focusing on the right to organize and join trade unions, the right to work and be free of discrimination, and “the right to equal pay for equal work.” The IOM's World Migration Report 2010 draws attention to a number of these instruments, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984), the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), among others. However, none of these instruments provide all the legal protections needed by migrants, even in nation-states that have agreed to many of these requirements, least of all those that have not even entered the conversation. The fundamental rights of undocumented workers, being so far only conceptually conceived, are even more at stake. For instance, the European Union, despite statements regarding human rights, has not adopted any preventive or institutive action to protect the rights of undocumented workers (IOM 2010). The European Commission, for example, denounced Spain in 2008 for a lack of response and protection of undocumented immigrant victims of abuse. The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg found that Spain was in violation of human rights for failing to act after the commission's denouncement (Ramírez Berasategui 2008).

CONCLUSION

While the economic crisis that began in 2008 has temporarily deterred labor mobility, this condition is not expected to last long, and the destination of this labor is expected to shift to emerging Asian economies (IOM 2010). As destination countries prepare for this new wave of undocumented workers, their leaders will need to show foresight and implement labor-migration policies that are not fueled by anti-immigrant sentiment but reflect the opportunities migration can offer for workers and the countries that profit from their labor. According to the World Migrant Report 2010, this will require attentiveness to each country's supply and demand of labor, and the assurance that migration policies and agreements between and among countries generate fair labor laws that respect migrant workers' rights. For instance, a shortage of caregivers in Canada resulted in the introduction of the Live-In Caregiver Program, which may lead to permanent residency for some immigrant caregivers. In addition, governments need policies that Page 213  |  Top of Articlegenerate opportunities for undocumented workers to become permanent legalized immigrants, such as those in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, and not simply temporary-worker programs that often result in higher incidents of employer abuse because employers control work permits and have the power to deny employment and permanent residency opportunities.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Benhabib, Seyla. 2005. “Borders, Boundaries, and Citizenship.” PS: Political Science and Politics 38 (4): 673–677.

Coonan, Terry. 2004. “Human Rights in the Sunshine State: A Proposed Florida Law on Human Trafficking.” Florida State University Law Review 31: 289–301.

De Genova, Nicholas P. 2002. “Migrant ‘Illegality’ and Deportability in Everyday Life.” Annual Review of Anthropology 31: 419–447.

Fassin, Didier. 2001. “The Biopolitics of Otherness: Undocumented Foreigners and Racial Discrimination in French Public Debate.” Anthropology Today 17 (1): 3–7.

Florida State University (FSU), Center for Advancement of Human Rights. 2003. Florida Responds to Human Trafficking. Tallahassee, FL: Center for Advancement of Human Rights.

Gamburd, Michele Ruth. 2000. The Kitchen Spoon's Handle: Transnationalism and Sri Lanka's Migrant Housemaids. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

González-Enríquez, Carmen. 2009. Undocumented Migration: Counting the Uncountable: Data and Trends across Europe—Country Report: Spain. European Commission. Athens, Greece: Clandestino.

International Organization for Migration (IOM). “About Migration.” Accessed March 26, 2011. Available from http://www.iom.int/jahia/Jahia/about-migration/lang/en

International Organization for Migration (IOM). 2010. World Migration Report 2010: The Future of Migration: Building Capacities for Change. Geneva, Switzerland: IOM.

Lahad, John. 2009. “Dreaming a Common Dream, Living a Common Nightmare: Abuses and Rights of Immigrant Workers in the United States, the European Union, and the United Arab Emirates.” Houston Journal of International Law 31 (3): 653–692.

Raijman, Rebeca; Silvina Schammah-Gesser; and Adriana Kemp. 2003. “International Migration, Domestic Work, and Care Work: Undocumented Latina Migrants in Israel.” Gender and Society 17 (5): 727–749.

Ramírez Berasategui, Javier. 2008. ENAR Shadow Report 2008: Racism in Spain. Brussels, Belgium: ENAR (European Network against Racism).

Salazar Parreñas, Rhacel. 2001. “Transgressing the Nation-State: The Partial Citizenship and ‘Imagined (Global) Community’ of Migrant Filipina Domestic Workers.” Signs 26 (4): 1129–1154.

Tharakan, Siby. 2002. “Protecting Migrant Workers.” Economic and Political Weekly 37 (51): 5080–5081.

Tiefenbrun, Susan. 2002. “The Saga of Susannah: A US Remedy for Sex Trafficking in Women: The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000.” Utah Law Review 107: 107–175.

United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). 2010. The Impact of the Economic and Financial Crisis on Women Migrant Workers in Asia and the Arab States. Accessed March 7, 2011. Available from http://www.un.org/esa/population/meetings/eighthcoord2009/P17_UNIFEM.pdf

United Nations General Assembly. 1948. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Accessed April 21, 2012. Available from http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

United Nations General Assembly. 2009. Human Rights of Migrants. Report of the special rapporteur (Jorge Bustamante) on the human rights of migrants. Sixty-fourth session, Item 71 (c) of the provisional agenda: Promotion and protection of human rights. A/64/213. August 3.

United Nations General Assembly. 2010. Revised draft resolution of agenda item 68 (b): Protection of migrants. Third Committee on Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. Sixty-fifth session. A/C.3/65/l/34/Rev.1. November 12.

United Nations General Assembly. 2010. Draft resolution of agenda item 22 (c): Globalization and interdependence, submitted by vice-chair of the committee, Mr. Jean Claudy Pierre (Haiti). Second Committee on International Migration and Development. A/C.2/65/L.69. November 24.

United Nations General Assembly. 2011. International Migration and Development. Report of the secretary-general on its sixty-fifth session, Item 22 (c) of the provisional agenda: Globalization and interdependence. A/65/230. August 2.

Willen, Sarah S. 2007. “Toward a Critical Phenomenology of ‘Illegality’: State Power, Criminalization, and Abjectivity among Documented Migrant Workers in Tel Aviv, Israel.” International Migration 45 (3): 8–38.

Ruth Trinidad Galván (2013)
University of New Mexico

María Teresa Guevara Beltrán (2013)
University of New Mexico

Source Citation

Source Citation   (MLA 8th Edition)
Galván, Ruth Trinidad, and María Teresa Teresa Guevara. "Undocumented Workers." Encyclopedia of Race and Racism, edited by Patrick L. Mason, 2nd ed., vol. 4, Macmillan Reference USA, 2013, pp. 207-213. Gale Ebooks, https%3A%2F%2Flink.gale.com%2Fapps%2Fdoc%2FCX4190600448%2FGVRL%3Fu%3Dunivca20%26sid%3DGVRL%26xid%3Dde76c5d2. Accessed 13 Dec. 2019.

Gale Document Number: GALE|CX4190600448

View other articles linked to these index terms:

Page locators that refer to this article are not hyper-linked.

  • Arab immigrants in France
    • 4: 210
  • Arabs
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 210
  • Arizona
    • anti-immigrant sentiment
      • 4: 210
  • Asian immigration and immigrants
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 209
  • Biased policing
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 210
  • Borders
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 209-210
  • California
    • immigration regulation
      • 4: 209
  • Canada
    • Live-In Caregiver Program
      • 4: 212
  • Chinese immigration and exclusion
    • anti-immigrant sentiment
      • 4: 209
  • Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
    • 4: 212
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child
    • 4: 212
  • Court cases
    • United States v. Cadena
      • 4: 212
  • Criminal justice system
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 209-211
  • Deportation
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 209
  • Domestic workers
    • 4: 209
  • Economic issues
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 208
  • Europe
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 209
      • 4: 212
  • European Court of Justice
    • 4: 212
  • European Union
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 212
  • Exploitation
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 211-212
  • Filipinos/as
    • 4: 209
  • Florida
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 212
  • Forced labor
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 211-212
  • France
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 210
      • 4: 211
  • Gender
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 209
      • 4: 211-212
  • Great recession
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 208-209
      • 4: 212
  • Human rights
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 210-212
  • Human trafficking
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 211-212
  • Immigrants and immigration
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 207-213
  • Immigration regulation and reform
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 207-211
  • International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
    • 4: 212
  • International Organization for Migration
    • 4: 207
    • 4: 212
  • Israel
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 209
  • Japan
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 209
  • Labor and labor market
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 207-213
  • Law enforcement
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 210
  • Legislation
    • Immigration Reform and Control Act
    • Ley Orgánica (Spain)
      • 4: 208
    • Proposition 187 (California)
    • Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (Arizona)
    • Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act
      • 4: 212
  • Ley Orgánica (Spain)
    • 4: 208
  • Live-In Caregiver Program
    • 4: 212
  • Mexicans and Mexico
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 207-208
      • 4: 209-210
  • Middle East
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 209
  • Moroccan immigrants
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 208-209
  • National Consultative Commission on Human Rights
    • 4: 210
  • National security
  • Nativism
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 208
      • 4: 209
      • 4: 210
  • Organic Law (Spain)
    • 4: 208
  • “Other”
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 209
  • Proposition 187 (California)
  • Racial profiling
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 210
  • Racialization
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 211
  • September 11, 2001, attacks
    • Mexican immigrants
      • 4: 208
  • Sex work and sexual exploitation
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 211-212
  • Spain
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 208-209
      • 4: 212
  • Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (Arizona)
  • Treaties and international agreements
    • Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
      • 4: 212
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child
    • 4: 212
  • International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
    • 4: 212
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • Undocumented workers
    • 4: 207-213
    • 4: 211
  • United Nations
    • international migration
      • 4: 207
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 210
      • 4: 211
      • 4: 212
    • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • United States v. Cadena
    • 4: 212
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 211
  • Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act
    • 4: 212
  • Violence
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 210
  • Wages and earnings
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 212
  • Willens, Sarah
    • 4: 211
  • Women
    • undocumented workers
      • 4: 209
      • 4: 211-212
  • Xenophobia