The Migrant and Seasonal Worker Protection Act (MSPA) in USA was passed in 1983 designed to provide migrant workers with protections regarding working conditions, pay, and work-related conditions requiring migrant workers to register with the Department of Labor, and assuring necessary protections for migrant workers, agricultural employers and agricultural associations (Briggs). This facilitated the heightened increase in the number of migrant workers in the USA in the late 20th century. According to the USA Public Health Service, at least 3.5 million migrant workers are residing in the United States. These are women, men, and children working in all fifty states in the peak periods of agriculture and other industries within the country. It is critical to note that migrant workers in the country have a history. Additionally, the migrant workers have a appreciable influence in social, economic, political and religious fields, in the country (Rothenberg). Ardently, the migrant workers issue needs a thorough evaluation to ascertain their relevance and contribution to the country, outweighing them with the negative they pose and perpetually diagnose the state of the workers and their relevance in the country.
A Migrant worker has numerous official definitions and connotations in diverse parts of the world. The United Nations’ connotation of a migrant worker is exceedingly broad, including anyone who works outside of his or her country. The term also acts as of use in describing someone who practically migrates within a home country, to pursue work for instance seasonal work. The term migrant worker generally in the United States refers to someone who fits the international (UN) definition of a foreign worker (Rothenberg). The term migrant worker also connotes someone who works regularly away from home, if at all they have a home. In the USA, a migrant worker commonly is of use in describing low-wage workers who perform manual labor particularly in the agriculture field; the migrant worker is often an immigrant who does not have any valid work visa.
History of Migrant Workers
A history of USA migrant workers dictate that they intensified with the early Mexican Revolution of 1910 that is estimated to happen between 1910 and 1917 (United States Labor Department). An approximated 53 thousand migrant workers per year are said to move to the U.S. during this period. Another factor contributing to the massive increase of migrant workers was the World War I. It is a period when workers from Mexico and other Hispanic countries performed exceedingly well both in the agricultural field and in the service and industry sector. Migrant workers into the country are, known to have worked also in the steel industry ideally as machinists, painters, mechanics, plumbers and upholsterers. During this period, migrant workers had an easy time. This is because they had a place in the country and needed in all sectors.
More than an estimated one million migrant workers in the agricultural field migrated to the United States early in the twentieth century. The majority of the workers found work on small family farms particularly in California (Rothenberg). The main reason for their easy time was that the owners of the farms around California welcomed cheap labor, which could only be, outsourced from migrant workers. Although the majority of migrant workers in California today tally as being of Mexican descent, originally, they came from everywhere across the globe including West and East Europe, Korea, China, Japan, and Latin America. It is notable that there was a shift almost in Mexican descent of migrant workers to the country. The shift to nearly solely Mexican migrant workers early in the 1900s was intentional. Growers at this period anticipated racial conflicts particularly between the workers and California “natives”. Growers, therefore, minimized opposition to Mexican immigration locally by promising that these Mexicans would later return to Mexico to avoid the racial diversity in outsourcing migrant workers.
Bill Clinton, an American President, said in 1998, “While an influx particularly of new residents from diverse cultures presents challenges in many countries across the globe, USA has always enjoyed the energy from its migrant workers’ populations.” This was to voice support for migrant workers including immigrants from Latin America and Asia when he uttered that “USA has drawn strength and spirit constantly from wave after wave of migrant workers; they prove to be the most adventurous, most restless, the most innovative, and precisely, the most industrious of population.” This statement was of value in inviting more migrant workers needed urgently in many sectors of the economy to increase production within the country (Rothenberg).
It has been an issue in the USA that migrant workers have mainly been males. Until the 1930s, the imbalance in gender among legal migrant workers was quite sharp, with the majority of legal migrant workers being male. As of the 1990s, nevertheless, women were just over half of the total number of legal migrant workers. This indicated a drastic shift away ideally from the male dominated immigration. On the other hand, contemporary migrant workers tend to be younger precisely than the native population of USA, with many people between the 15 and 34 years of age substantially overrepresented in the migrant workers’ population (Rothenberg). On the same note, the migrant workers have a higher likelihood of being married and with a less likelihood of being divorced than native-born Americans are.
Migrant workers’ relations with the natives
The migrant workers have had extensive relations with the locals over a period. The United States enacted the Migrant Workers Protection Act removing the restraints on commerce particularly caused by activities ideally detrimental to migrant workers. It required labor contractors to register, and assure extremely useful protections for migrant workers (Rothenberg). This has long been a powerful motivator for the migrant workers residing in USA. Migrant workers and their respective families work and live in every state in USA (Briggs). Many of the migrant workers are United States citizens or ideally permanent residents in the country. Practically, immigrants are likely moving to and living in areas populated by people ideally with similar backgrounds. This has been a phenomenon holding true throughout the history of migrant workers in the United States. Three-quarters of migrant workers surveyed by Public Agenda noted they intended ideally to make the U.S. their home of residence on a permanent basis. Data from the same survey indicated that if they had to migrate again, 80% of migrant workers claim that they would still choose the US, 80% as their country.
However, there are challenges facing the relations between migrant workers in the country leading to sore relationships. In USA, public attitudes regarding migrant workers have heavily been, influenced by the September 11, 2001 attacks. Many Americans in a Gallup poll blamed the laws governing migrant workers as a leak to possible attacks like the September 11 (Briggs). Their main issue is that migrant workers to the country should be restricted or tighter and tougher controls on migrant workers enacted in enhancing U.S. national security. It is, however, pertinent to note that, Public opinion surveys in USA suggest that Americans ideally see the good and bad sides of migrant workers. A June 2006 NBC poll presented results that the public divided on the elementary question of whether migrant workers helps or hurts USA as their country of residence. An estimated, 44% of the people tallied in the survey indicated that the workers help in building the country; 45 percent said that the migrant workers issue hurts the country. However, many of the surveys indicate that the U.S. public ideally has a more positive outlook regarding legal migrant workers, but they are against illegal migrant workers residing in the country. The public in USA is less willing to provide legal protections or services to illegal migrant workers.