CERLAC presents the second forum in the 2020-2021 Baptista lecture series:
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Critical but Expendable: Migration, Securitization, Racialization in (unequal) Nation states
This panel will critically explore the current polarizing and often criminalizing US-driven agenda on immigration, asking where Canada fits into this picture. Caribbean and Latin American scholars, and activists speak from both research and experience to analyze Canadian migration policy, the movements that respond to it and the lived realities on the ground. Some of the questions this panel will address relate to the exacerbated securitization and criminalization of immigration policies in North America to the increasing flow of migrants from countries south the western hemisphere, including the Caribbean region. Thematically the dialogue will delve into the transnational implications of policies on securitization, incarceration of undocumented immigrants, increasing deportations. Panelists will also discuss the precarious working and health conditions of seasonal agricultural (migrant) workers who come to Canada from the Caribbean and Mexico every year under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) and whose lives are deemed “critical but expendable” by their own governments. Our panel will bring together speakers from non-governmental and activist organizations, as well as academics and grassroots initiatives working in the different dimensions of immigration identified in this forum.
Evelyn Encalada Grez: “Status or status quo? Migrant farmworkers in a time of COVID, la lucha continua.”
“For nearly two decades the movement for migrant farmworkers’ rights in Canada has articulated the urgency of permanent residency status for farmworkers who are primarily from Mexico, the Caribbean, and more recently, Guatemala. The onset of the pandemic created a political opportunity to materialize this demand as migrant farmworkers were deemed essential workers and became exempted from travel restrictions in order to maintain farms and greenhouses across Canada. Instead, the pandemic reinforced their expendability and the political moment for status became more elusive. In this presentation, I will discuss migrant workers’ longstanding structural vulnerabilities, the power of the agricultural lobby, and suggest redirections for the political project of status within a transnational perspective.”
Manuel Galaviz: Entanglements of Mobility and Border Security Infrastructure Projects in San Diego, California.
“Extending 100-aerial-miles inward from sea and land external boundaries, the United States border area is a geopolitical region where the power of immigration officers and employees escape the domain of constitutional oversight. The entirety of California’s San Diego County is located within the legally defined 100-aerial-mile demarcation of the United States border area. Residents of San Diego are not necessarily liberated of their constitutional protections. Rather, non-white individuals of Mexican or Central American descent—undocumented or otherwise—disproportionately experience the hard-felt grip of spatial monitoring and containment brought-on by racialized border security and immigration policy. In this talk, I demonstrate how the 100-aerial-mile demarcation of the United States border area contributes to the production of racialized spaces of confinement, which create the spatial conditions structuring the limits and possibilities of access to mobility opportunities for people of “Mexican” appearance in San Diego, California.”
Chris Ramsaroop: COVID-19 crisis and migrant farm workers: A hidden crisis exposed or are we scratching the surface of Canada’s apartheid state
“While some commentators claim that COVID has exposed the underbelly of Canada’s managed migration scheme. I will show that in fact that Canada’s Temporary Foreign Workers program (TFW) and its world renowned SAWP system exposes the racial underpinnings of a program that reinforces a global labour system based on apartheid. Canada maintains and legitimizes a racial hierarchy that denies mobility to an ever-expanding number of unfree labourers who toil across Canada’s plantation industrial complex. It is claimed that this is necessary to protect Canada’s food system. To conclude I will discuss lessons learnt by activists, workers and the state by this ongoing crisis.”
Angelique V. Nixon: The Politics of South-South Migration in the Caribbean
“This presentation will offer reflections on migratory flows in the Caribbean with a focus on the politics of South-South migration and the transnational impacts of xenophobia and structural and gender-based violence. While many call out the mistreatment of Caribbean migrants in the Global North, a myriad of contradictions and hypocrisies arise in regional migration politics that mimic the xenophobic attitudes and deportation policies of North America. These issues are further complicated and exacerbated with economic and climate crises as the region grapples with COVID-19 global pandemic. These are tangled webs of precarity, unnatural disasters, and intersectional violence.”
Dr. Evelyn Encalada Grez, SFU’s Labour Studies Program. Evelyn is a transnational labour scholar, community-labour organizer and Assistant Professor in Labour Studies and Sociology and Anthropology at Simon Fraser University. She is the co-founder of the award winning collective, Justice for Migrant Workers, J4MW that has advocated for the rights of migrant farmworkers in Canada for two decades. Her research bridges grass-roots activism with academic scholarship and through this approach Dr. Encalada Grez has extensively documented the lives of Mexican migrant farmworker women who work and forge transnational livelihoods between rural Canada and rural Mexico. She is an alumnus of York University’s Latin American Studies Program and a public sociologist who has mobilized her research in various venues as well as in media such as films.
Manuel (Manny) Galaviz, The University of Texas at Austin, Department of Anthropology. Manuel earned his Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin in December 2020. His ethnographic research examines the racial spatial implications of U.S. border security, militarization, and transportation infrastructures on Mexican and Chicana/o/x communities in San Diego, California. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico and raised as an undocumented youth in rural San Diego County, he is a first-generation college graduate and Chicano scholar. His dissertation examines how immigration and border security limit, regulate, or determine modes of access to public space for Latinx, especially Mexican and Chicanx, populations along the US-Mexico’s border. Through trans-border ethnographic methods and racial spatial and colorism theories, Galaviz examines the social and legal processes that bar Latinx undocumented populations from enjoying public space free of harassment or fear of deportation while supporting other groups to enjoy the full benefits of access to those spaces.
Chris Ramsaroop, Justicia for Migrant Workers, OISE, University of Toronto. Chris is an organizer with Justicia for Migrant Workers. He is also an instructor in the Caribbean Studies Program at the University of Toronto and a clinic instructor at the University of Windsor, Faculty of Law. Ramsaroop is working to complete his PhD at OISE/University of Toronto. Justicia for Migrant Workers is a grassroots activist collective that has been organizing with migrant workers for nearly 20 years. Justicia’s work is based on building long term trust and relationships with migrant workers and includes: engaging in direct actions, working with workers to resist at work, launching precedent setting legal cases, and organizing numerous collective actions.
Dr. Angelique V. Nixon is a Bahamas-born, Trinidad-based writer, artist, and scholar-activist. She is a Lecturer and Graduate Studies Coordinator at the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. Her research and teaching areas include Caribbean and postcolonial studies, African diaspora literatures, gender and sexuality studies, tourism and diaspora studies, and transnational migrations. Dr. Nixon holds a Ph.D. in English and Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies and Gender Research from the University of Florida, where she specialised in Caribbean and African diaspora literatures and postcolonial, feminist and gender studies. She also holds a MA in English and Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies from Florida Atlantic University and a BSc in Accounting and Minors in Humanities and Global Studies from Nova Southeastern University. She completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Africana Studies focused on “Migrations and Theories of Africana” at New York University.