Cindy Hahamovitch is the B. Phinizy Spalding Distinguished Professor in History at the University of Georgia, where she teaches U.S., labor, and immigration history. She is the author of The Fruits of Their Labor: Atlantic Coast Farmworkers and the Making of Migrant Poverty, 1870-1945 (1997) and No Man's Land: Jamaican Guestworkers in America and the Global History of Deportable Labor (2013), which won the OAH James A. Rawley Prize, the OAH Merle Curti Social History Award, and the Philip Taft Labor History Book Award. Her work focuses on human trafficking in labor around the globe, migrant farmworkers in the United States, and the rising use of deportable labor in the United States and abroad. She has lectured in Australia, Canada, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and Scotland, and at a wide range of American universities. A Fulbright fellow, she has also held fellowships at the National Humanities Center and Yale University's Program in Agrarian Studies. She is the vice president of LAWCHA, the Labor and Working Class History Association, a past president of the Southern Labor Studies Association, and for 12 years was the reviews editor for Labor: Studies in Working-Class History.
The last attempt at "comprehensive immigration reform," which culminated in the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, was as controversial and complicated as it is today. Then, as now, growers' demand for "guestworkers" was at the center of the debate over how to "fix" the nation's immigration problem. This talk explains how the 1986 fix helped get us where we are now.