Unauthorized immigrants, global capitalism, and the potential of deferred action

Date: November 19, 2015

Of the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States, 84 percent have resided in the country for over five years, while nearly two thirds have lived in the United States for a decade, and over a fifth for two decades; but all are subject to removal from the country at any time. Unauthorized immigrants also make up five percent of the U.S. labor market—but because of their legal status have few rights and and limited access to U.S. labor and employment law protections—and therefore suffer higher rates of wage theft and earn lower wages than U.S. born workers. For years, Congress has not been able to agree on a fair and humane solution.

In response, one year ago this week President Obama announced a series of actions on immigration under his executive authority that would have included postponing the deportation of approximately five million unauthorized immigrants and offered them an opportunity to work legally (also known as “deferred action”) if they have children who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, or if they entered the United States as children themselves: the DAPA and the expanded DACA initiatives. However, the legality of these initiatives was seriously questioned by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Obama administration plans to ask the Supreme Court to overturn an injunction blocking the initiatives. In the meantime, the broader policy question remains unresolved: Is it in the interests of the United States to leave five percent of the labor market vulnerable to employer exploitation and to separate immigrant families that have resided in the United States for years or decades?

On November 19 at noon, EPI will commemorate the deferred action announcement by hosting an event to present a new book on deportations which explores how they have become a tool in a broader strategy to police immigrant workers and keep them exploited in the name of global capitalism. Dr. Tanya Boza, the author of Deported: Policing Immigrants, Disposable Labor and Global Capitalism will be joined by three experts who will each respond to the book’s findings and discuss their significance in the context of deferred action and immigration reform.

What: Presentation of new book “Deported: Policing Immigrants, Disposable Labor and Global Capitalism” and panel discussion of its findings in the context of deferred action and immigration reform. Books will be available for purchase at the event. Lunch will be served.

Who: Tanya Maria Golash-Boza, Author of Deported and Associate Professor of Sociology, University of California, Merced
Jennifer Rosenbaum, Legal and Policy Director, National Guestworker Alliance, and Robina Foundation Visiting Human Rights Fellow, Yale Law School
Marc Rosenblum, Deputy Director, U.S. Immigration Policy Program, Migration Policy Institute
Shannon Lederer, Director of Immigration, Policy Department, AFL-CIO
Opening remarks and moderated by Daniel Costa, Director of Immigration Law and Policy Research, EPI

When: Thursday, November 19, 2015, 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Eastern

Where: Economic Policy Institute
1333 H Street NW, Suite 300 East Tower
Washington, DC 20005

Reporters: To RSVP, please send an email to
For more information and for public RSVP click here.