Thursday, May 31, 2012

Report: Human Rights of U.S. Immigrants


The Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE) at Northeastern University School of Law has just released a report on how human rights strategies can be used to address the many challenges facing immigrants to the U.S. and their communities. Convened in October 2010, the “Beyond National Security: Immigrant Communities and Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights” institute (see previous post here) gathered community activists, human rights, immigrants’ rights, and civil rights attorneys, workers’ rights advocates, political scientists, sociologists, journalists, law students, and legal scholars to share concerns, strategies, and potential collaborations.
The new Report was drafted by Jessica Hahn and Rakhi Lahiri, 2011 graduates of Northeastern Law School who served as rapporteurs for the two-day workshop. IntLawGrrl contributor Professor Hope Lewis  (pictured below right) and IntLawGrrl guest Associate Professor Rachel E. Rosenbloom (pictured top right) co-chaired the institute. Although the workshop discussions occurred in 2010, all of the domestic, international, and transnational issues remain relevant today as we approach another U.S. presidential election:
►  separation of families;
► lack of access to quality health care and language barriers in detention and deportation proceedings;
► abuses of immigrant workers’ rights to fair wages, working conditions, and freedom of assembly, association, and collective bargaining;
► discrimination and profiling against indigenous peoples and racial, ethnic, religious, gender, sexual, and disability minorities who are, or are perceived to be, members of immigrant communities
► targeting of women and children from immigrant communities for human trafficking and other abuses:
► lack of access to education, health care, and other public goods due to actual or perceived fears about deportation or discrimination;
► housing discrimination.
(For a selection of IntLawGrrl posts on asylum and immigration issues, click here.)
In response to these and similar concerns, participants at the institute drafted a set of non-binding guidelines, the “Boston Principles on the Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights of Noncitizens.”  (See essay, Hope Lewis & Rachel Rosenbloom, “The Boston Principles: An Introduction,” here and our IntLawGrrls post here.)
Like other such guidelines, the Boston Principles are intended to influence progressive policy development and the further implementation of existing legally-binding treaties and instruments.
Heartfelt thanks to Sari M. Long ’13, Northeastern University School of Law, for her assistance in the preparation of this post.

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