Lecture Description

If you gathered the 200 million guestworkers around the world and all the family members they support into one “migration nation,” writes Jason Parle of the New York Times, they would add up to at least a half a billion people, or the third largest nation on the planet. The remittance income they generate is equally astounding. Worldwide, labor migrants sent home an estimated $300 billion in 2006, nearly three times the world’s foreign-aid budgets combined. This talk is about the history of the USA’s H-2 Guestworker Program, the second oldest temporary labor migration program in the world and the program that is at the center of the current immigration reform debate. Its focus will be the World War II origins of the program, when one in six Jamaican men worked in the fields in the U.S. It explains how a model program declined so rapidly into the exploitative, Jim Crow-like system it remains today.


Labor and Working Class Migration/Migrant

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