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(Mis)managing Migration

Guestworkers’ Experiences with North American Labor Markets

Edited by David Griffith

Today managed migration is growing in North America. This mirrors the general growth of migration from poorer to richer countries, with more than 200 million people now living outside their natal countries. Faced with this phenomenon, managed migration enables nation-states to regulate those population movements; direct foreign nationals to specific, identified economic sectors that citizens are less likely to care about; match employers who claim labor shortages with highly motivated workers; and offer people from poorer countries higher earning potential abroad through temporary absence from their families and homelands. Characterized like this, managed migration sounds like the ideal alternative to unregulated, undocumented migration. Unfortunately, as the contributors to this volume describe, managed migration does not always work on the ground as well as it does on paper.

2014. 312 pp., figures, maps, tables, notes, appendix, references, index, 6 x 9

Contributors: Diane Austin, Micah N. Bump, Ricardo Contreras, Elżbieta M. Goździak, David Griffith, Cindy Hahamovitch, Melanie Hamilton, Christine Hughes, B. Lindsay Lowell, Philip Martin, Juvencio Rocha Peralta, Kerry Preibisch, Josephine Smart, Pablo Valdes Villareal

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“This is an extremely valuable collection of articles on a theme of great contemporary importance and interest. Whereas single-authored books have appeared on particular groups of recent (post-war) Temporary Foreign Workers Programs, there is nothing with the breadth that we encounter here, nothing that takes on in comparative fashion TFWPs throughout the North American region.”
—Leigh Binford, City University of New York

“This is a strong and coherent book, with chapters that collectively present an interesting, important, and insightful account of the past and present of managed migration in the United States and Canada. I learned a considerable amount from (Mis)managing Migration. It should be read by scholars interested in labor and migration in a variety of disciplines, including, but not limited to, anthropology, geography, history, political science, and sociology.”
—Gretchen Purser, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University

“[Contributor] Cindy Hahamovitch states the central point of the book: managed migration is a myth with regard to its formal goals, a well-treated but easily summoned and removed labor force that does not undercut labor standards in receiving areas …”
—Dr. Josiah McC. Heyman, University of Texas at El Paso

“The value of the edifying, original presentations stands out beyond their fusion in the general themes they cover. . . . The strength of the book lies in gathering new research in an easily accessible format and language for those in and outside academia.”
—Luis L. M. Aguiar, University of British Columbia, Anthropology of Work Review, July 2016


  1. “Risk the Truck”: Guestworker-Sending States and the Myth of Managed Migration
    Cindy Hahamovitch
  2. The H-2A Program: Evolution, Impacts, and Outlook
    Philip Martin
  3. Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada: Flexible Labor in the Twenty-First Century
    Josephine Smart
  4. Managed Migration and Changing Workplace Regimes in Canadian Agriculture
    Kerry Preibisch
  5. Guestworkers in the Fabrication and Shipbuilding Industry along the Gulf of Mexico: An Anomaly or a New Source of Labor?
    Diane Austin
  6. From Perfect to Imperfect Immigrants: Family Relations and the Managed Migration of Seafood Workers between Sinaloa, Mexico, and North Carolina
    David Griffith and Ricardo Contreras
  7. The Potential and Pitfalls of Social Remittances: Guatemalan Women and Labor Migration to Canada
    Christine Hughes
  8. Global Trends, Local Outcomes: Globalization and the Foreign-Born Temporary Labor Force in the Shenandoah Valley Apple Industry
    Micah N. Bump, Elżbieta M. Goździak, and B. Lindsay Lowell
  9. A History of Activism: The Organizational Work of Juvencio Rocha Peralta
    Juvencio Rocha Peralta, David Griffith, and Ricardo Contreras
  10. Conclusion: Promises of Guestworker Programs
    David Griffith

There are no working papers for this book at the present time.