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Fri Jul 1, 2016, 03:32 AM

Researcher finds 'ghost workers' common in migrant farm work

28-Jun-2016

Researcher finds 'ghost workers' common in migrant farm work

University of Colorado Denver



IMAGE: A woman wearing protective clothing peels off stickers to brand the melons she is packing on a field-packing device in California's Central Valley. view more 

Credit: Sarah Horton

New research by Sarah Horton, an anthropologist at the University of Colorado Denver, reveals that employers in agricultural industries often take advantage of migrants' inability to work legally by making their employment contingent upon working under the false or borrowed identity documents provided by employers.

Horton's study, published this month in the Anthropology of Work Review, shows that many employers provide employees who do not have legal status with the valid work authorization documents of their friends or family.

Farm workers call this practice, which essentially renders them invisible to the state and federal governments, "working as a ghost."

Horton shows that by providing workers with borrowed documents, many agribusiness companies disguise their employment of undocumented immigrants from authorities, hide the use of child labor, and suppress worker's compensation claims.

More:
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/uocd-rf062716.php

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Reply Researcher finds 'ghost workers' common in migrant farm work (Original post)
Judi Lynn Jul 2016 OP
Igel Jul 2016 #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Jul 1, 2016, 09:10 AM

1. Where I worked in the '90s wasn't quite so bad.

But when Luisa, aka Mary Wollthorpe or some similarly English-sounding name according to her ID, brought in new ID for us to use saying she was "Getrude Magnusson" or some such Scandinavian name, it was almost too much.

Both IDs were faked. Her employer knew she was here illegally. ("No human illegally is! It's not illegal to be!"

Her employer didn't care. In fact, in that case her employer (female, progressive) thought she was doing a good thing, helping a poor undocumented girl to survive in a hostile world. The #2 in the company (Chinese, HB-whatever immigrant) thought she was useful and cheap and disposable. The shipping clerk (Latino, legal immigrant) wanted her deported because he'd played by the rules and she was breaking them. The sales manager didn't like her because communication with her was difficult at best and too time-consuming, otherwise she had no opinion of Luisa. Luisa, after two years in the US, knew some basic terms for work but otherwise spent all of her time in a monolingual setting and saw no reason to learn any more English. My bosses told me to accept her new ID without question. The federal government was told, in effect, that Mary was fired and Gertrude was hired. We paid FICA, etc., for Mary and Gertrude. Not for Luisa. Nobody cared. The SSNs were valid and matched the names, so somebody got credit for the money paid.


People always do what they perceive to be in their best interest when it comes to laws they don't necessarily respect. This article is a call for enforcing the immigration laws. Or a call to reform them. Mostly it just shows that, like laws involving pot, excessive speed, prostitution, discrimination, and bribery or numerous other current crimes, we try to get around laws. We consider those who do this with laws we like immoral and call for lopping off body parts; we consider those who do this with laws we don't like to be important in helping to make the laws better. And I use the word "like" intentionally--often it's more a matter of "like" and what suits us than "think" and logic rooted in a thought-out philosophy or even just human psychology.

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