Online Program

Immigration is a health justice issue

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 4:30 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.

Lakshmi Sridaran, MCP, The Praxis Project, Washington, DC
Makani Themba, The Praxis Project, Washington, DC
Changing demographics, globalized capitalist economies, and concerns about a shrinking domestic economy are fueling the current discussion on immigration. And, while the national immigration debate has been largely bifurcated as a tension between pathways to citizenship and increased border security, at the heart of it lies the economic incentive to secure a steady workforce. As the country launches into another conversation on immigration reform, there are swaths of workers who will not be included in key legislation that could potentially help safeguard their health. Currently, agricultural and domestic workers are not included in existing or proposed minimum wage or paid sick days legislation. Historically, they have not been covered under the National Labor Relations Act allowing workers to form unions or bargain collectively, the Fair Labor Standards Act which provides overtime compensation, or provided stronger Occupational Safety and Health Act protections, although these workers come into contact with some of the most toxic products. We have also seen a number of citizen-led initiatives in many states denying undocumented immigrants healthcare and basic social services starting with Proposition 187 in California in 1994. Workers and immigrants, both documented and undocumented, are organizing all over the country to fight for fair wages and safe working environments, making explicit connections between their conditions and immigration reform. This session will review how workers and communities are organizing to change policy at all levels, identify opportunities for including health in the immigration discourse and legislation, and explore model policies in domestic and international contexts.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Identify salient intersections between immigration and health issues Describe opportunities for policy change to improve worker health

Keyword(s): Workforce, Immigration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I work at an organization that is committed to improving the health of communities of color. The Praxis Project is a nonprofit movement support intermediary that supports organizing and change work at local, regional and national levels. We work with over 30 grantee organizations, many of whom are organizing for the rights of immigrant workers. This on the ground work informs our research and analysis on a real time basis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.