This article documents the sociospatial dynamics and policies that intensify structural vulnerability among Latin American im/migrant farmworkers in Western/Central New York. Focusing on the production of immobility as a characteristic facet of illegality in this region, we examine geographic, labor, and legal factors that constrain im/migrants’ movement outside of the farms where they work and the range of tactics they utilize in response. Our findings indicate that each of the tactics that im/ migrant farmworkers use to resolve practical problems of limited mobility simultaneously exacerbate its other detrimental effects. Discussion centers on the importance of meso-level policies that can moderate im/migrant mobility and, consequently, structural vulnerability. We conclude with an argument for research to explore the effects of such meso-level policy changes on im/migrant mobility and precarity and to support advocacy efforts focused at the meso-level scale, especially at the present historical moment when policies related to driver’s licenses are changing in many states. Data reported in this article come from ethnographic research conducted in collaboration with a grassroots farmworker organization that helped lead the successful campaign for driver’s license access in New York.
Damned If You Drive, Damned If You Don't: Meso-level Policy and Im/migrant Farmworker Tactics under a Regime of Immobility
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Jennifer R. Guzmán, Melanie A. Medeiros; Damned If You Drive, Damned If You Don't: Meso-level Policy and Im/migrant Farmworker Tactics under a Regime of Immobility. Human Organization 1 June 2020; 79 (2): 130–139. doi: https://doi.org/10.17730/1938-35126.96.36.199
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