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Every year, hundreds of thousands of migrant workers leave behind their homes and families in Mexico to travel to the U.S. only to face exploitation and discrimination in the workplace. Migrant workers frequently are forced to live in rat-infested housing, work with toxic chemicals, and receive less than the minimum wage. Our center was founded to address these terrible abuses that accompany migrant work in the United States. We are located in Zacatecas, in the heart of Mexico, because it is nearly impossible for Mexican migrant and "guest" workers, who by definition have no permanent home in the U.S., to fight the problems they face without a source of support for those battles in their home country. Because of the fear factor (due to employer control and fear of immigration law enforcement), many migrants are unable to access information about their rights and connect with lawyers, unions or workers centers to enforce those rights while they are in the U.S. If they are lucky, they may find a lawyer or a union or a workers center in the U.S. that will help them fight for their rights. But when they leave the country with the case still pending, as guestworkers must according to the terms of their visa, it is nearly impossible for the lawyer or the union to pursue their case. We bridge that gap.
Through outreach, education and leadership development in home communities where workers feel comfortable speaking about workplace conditions in the U.S., by connecting workers to advocates and providing support for those advocates' efforts, and through policy advocacy, CDM works to remove the border as a barrier to justice.