Monday, October 30, 2023

Migrant Children in the US: The Dangers of Working in Hazardous Jobs


According to experts, it is widely known that many children who cross the US border alone end up working in gruelling and often hazardous conditions. These children, who are seeking asylum and other forms of protection under US and international law, are typically alone in the country after fleeing their home countries and crossing the southern border without their parents. As they wait for their cases to be processed, they need to find ways to support themselves and their families back home, which often leads them to work long hours in factories, farms, and mills.

Unfortunately, many of these jobs violate longstanding child labour laws that prohibit overnight shifts and dangerous work. So how is this happening, and what does it say about how migrants are treated in the US?

To shed light on this issue, host Marc Lamont Hill spoke with Hannah Dreier, a New York Times investigative reporter and author of the expose “Alone and Exploited: Migrant Children Work Brutal Jobs Across the US,” and Mario Bruzzone, a senior policy adviser with the Women’s Refugee Commission’s Migrant Rights and Justice program.

Dreier explained that these children often end up working in industries that are difficult to regulate, such as agriculture or garment manufacturing. These industries rely heavily on undocumented workers who are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Children are particularly vulnerable because they are less likely to speak out or report abuses due to fear of deportation or retaliation.

Bruzzone added that the US government’s response to this issue has been inadequate. While there are laws in place to protect children from exploitation, they are not being enforced effectively. Additionally, the government’s focus on border security has led to policies that make it more difficult for children to seek asylum or other forms of protection.

Both Dreier and Bruzzone emphasized the need for better enforcement of existing laws and policies that protect children from exploitation. They also called for more resources to be devoted to helping these children navigate the legal system and find safe and stable living situations.

Overall, the issue of migrant children working in hazardous conditions is a complex one that requires a multifaceted response. While there are no easy solutions, it is clear that more needs to be done to protect these vulnerable children and ensure that they are not exploited for cheap labor.

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