Gordana Rabrenovic (1957-)
Martha F. Davis (1957-), Michael C. Tolley
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Department or Academic Unit
College of Arts and Sciences. Law, Policy, and Society Program.
Sociology, Discourse analysis, Immigration policy, Undocumented immigrants
Illegal aliens--Press coverage, Illegal aliens--Employment, Illegal aliens--Civil rights
Law and Society
This dissertation analyzes the U.S. national and regional press discourse concerning labor violations and the rights of undocumented (""illegal"") immigrants in American workplaces, these workers' undocumented immigration status renders them especially vulnerable to employers' abuses, since many are silenced into submission by fear of deportation. More specifically, this dissertation examines how the U.S. press has covered two instances where alleged violations of labor laws have become news events through public campaigns to bring attention to the issue. The two case studies analyzed in this dissertation are: the DKNY campaign involving garment manufacturing workers in Manhattan, New York, and the Taco Bell campaign involving tomato pickers in Immokalee, Florida. In both case studies, local labor organizations representing the workers launched campaigns to bring attention to the responsibility of large corporations who were primary purchasers of their products, although not their direct employers. This dissertation analyzes whether and how the press coverage discussed the fact that many of the workers in these industries (garment manufacturing and agriculture) are undocumented immigrants. The results of the press analysis show that most of the U.S. national and regional press coverage did not focus on the workers' undocumented immigration status, and that the campaign organizers did not attempt to address this issue. Rather, the labor campaign organizers in the case studies believed it was in their interest to keep immigration status out of the press coverage, because they wished to focus on the labor violations, but also because they believed American readers would be less sympathetic to the workers' plight if they were informed that some of the workers may be undocumented immigrants. This dissertation argues that this silence in the press concerning labor violations committed against undocumented workers in the U.S. impoverishes public discourse about ""illegal"" immigration by leaving this significant human rights concern out of the general debate, and ultimately also impoverishes policy debates about comprehensive immigration policy solutions.
Ilha, Ana, ""Illegals" in the land of opportunity: the press and the labor rights of undocumented workers" (2009). Law, Policy, and Society Dissertations. Paper 5. http://hdl.handle.net/2047/d10016934
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