“It’s ironic that those who till the soil, cultivate and harvest the fruits, vegetables, and other foods that fill your tables with abundance have nothing left for themselves.”
– Cesar Chavez
Migrants often suffer humiliating and degrading treatment from discrimination in the form of hate crimes, hostile work environment, and racial profiling. At Migrant Legal Aid, we believe that human dignity and equal rights must be protected for the most vulnerable in society if all are to enjoy either one.
For the nearly 150,000 migrant, seasonal, and agricultural workers that help make Michigan second in the nation for its crop diversity, human dignity and equal rights are often not included as part of their employment package. Since 1973, Michigan Migrant Legal Assistance Project, Inc. (Migrant Legal Aid) has been dedicated to helping ensure equal rights for Michigan’s low-income farmworkers and their families. Migrant Legal Aid provides programs and services to help ensure migrants are not subject to discriminatory treatment.
The immigrant and migrant community is frequently faced with proposed changes to laws, rules, and policies of government that have the potential to change their rights or responsibilities in Michigan. Migrant Legal Aid provides advice and recommendations to government officials who seek the migrants’ perspectives. During the proposed changes, Migrant Legal Aid provides leadership in educating the migrant community about the proposed changes, and their potential to benefit or prejudice the community.
2. Community Education:
Migrant Legal Aid provides community legal education to migrants and community advocates. The education covers common issues affecting migrant workers int he areas of health, education, employment, safe housing, public benefits, civil rights, worker safety, and immigration.
For rural locations and crisis calls, Migrant Legal Aid provides outreach services to the camps where migrants are housed to support their rights to safe and suitable housing. Migrant Legal Aid provides information about its services and location, addresses worker concerns, and evaluates potential problems to avoid crises.
4. Legal Advice and Representation:
Migrant Legal Aid provides legal advice to migrants regarding their employment, minimum wage, right to suitable housing, education, health and public benefits, civil rights, and worker protections. Migrant Legal Aid represents clients through negotiation, mediation, and/or litigation in court. Often this involves working with large groups of workers with the same employer and similar legal issues.
Migrant Legal Aid serves as a hub of resource information for migrants. With each client contact, Migrant Legal Aid evaluates their needs, offers counsel and advice, and provides the best resource and contact information available for community agencies serving those needs.