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Title page for ETD etd-04112016-082506

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Lopez, Elizabeth
Author's Email Address elilisaliz@gmail.com
URN etd-04112016-082506
Title What it means to be an Undocumented Worker in the United States
Degree Master of Arts
Department Latin American Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Lesley Gill Committee Chair
William F. Robinson Committee Member
  • Immigration
  • Workers
  • Undocumented Immigrants
Date of Defense 2016-04-22
Availability unrestricted
In recent decades, the United States government enacted immigration policies that transformed migrant workers into undocumented immigrants. Illegality is a highly racialized status, as more than half of Mexican and Central American people in the U.S. are undocumented. Immigration laws that purport to be color-blind recreate older racial and ethnic discriminatory systems. Today, being an undocumented immigrant in the United States has repercussions far beyond administrative status. Immigration enforcement agencies and employers utilize the threat of deportation to suppress the efforts of workers to organize for improved working conditions. In this way, illegality functions to maintain a fearful and compliant workforce. The U.S. government enforces immigration policies that dehumanize and commodify millions of people, and relegate millions of workers to the most vulnerable occupations in exploitative industries.
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