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No Man's LandJamaican Guestworkers in America and the Global History of Deportable Labor$
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Cindy Hahamovitch

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691102689

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691102689.001.0001

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A Riotous Success

A Riotous Success

Guestworkers, “Illegal Immigrants,” and the Promise of Managed Migration

(p.110) Chapter Six A Riotous Success
No Man's Land

Cindy Hahamovitch

Princeton University Press

This chapter reveals the intimate and early relationship between illegal immigration and authorized guestworker programs, a relationship that continues to this day. Guestworker programs had persisted in the postwar period because they appeared to offer a manageable alternative to unregulated migration. However, to the extent that this was managed migration, it was managed to benefit the nation's largest farm employers, not the farmworkers. Managed migration was a success from the growers' perspective, precisely because the Caribbean and Mexican guestworker programs kept wages low and labor plentiful. From the policy makers' perspective, the guestworker programs seemed like sensible and legitimate ways to keep the border open. Temporary worker contracts and guestworkers' deportability added a patina of legality to what was, in essence, a grower-dominated labor recruitment scheme.

Keywords:   unregulated migration, illegal immigration, authorized guestworker programs, postwar America, farm employers, managed migration, labor recruitment scheme

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