Simply requesting access to his own health card used to attain free medical

Simply requesting access to his own health card used

This preview shows page 11 - 13 out of 19 pages.

Simply requesting access to his own health card (used to attain free medical services) from the employer—who routinely (and illegally) with- held the cards from all workers—caused a prob- lem, even though Lorenzo only wanted to use the card as identification to take out books and access the Internet at the local library. The em- ployer apparently could not understand why a Classifying the “ideal migrant worker”: Mexican and Jamaican transnational farmworkers in Canada | 89
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migrant would want to access the community services meant for Canadians. In the end, Lo- renzo was fired after only two months in Can- ada for, he believes, asking too many questions, which, incidentally, he was able to do in English. After being fired, Lorenzo was partly relieved to be going back to Mexico, a country he said exhibited “much greater freedom” than Canada. He even determined that the United States is a better country to work in because at least there you have “freedom of movement and associa- tion” (unless you get caught). He had given Canada a try only because of the increased se- curity barriers along the US border, which had got him kicked out of the country after years of living there (and working as a construction manager) without legal status. He vowed upon leaving Canada that if he ever came back as a worker, it would have to be “undocumented” so that he could actually be free to “move around” and “get ahead.” Ultimately, Lorenzo’s experience, ability, will- ingness to communicate, and motivation to ap- ply and advance his skills, resulted in his being kicked out of Canada’s “model migration pro- gram.” He could afford to break from the mould of performed subordination as he has a reason- able job prospect in Mexico. Nicolas, a genuine “poor campesino ” with six dependents, contin- ues on in the program. Like the vast majority of migrants in the SAWP, Nicolas deems the trade- offs of working under poor conditions without complaint as worth the sacrifice. In his mind, the Canadian program is the best available al- ternative to him. Consequences of performing subordination The ideal temporary migrant sought by Canada is someone who will work without complaint and will return home at the end of the contract. The SAWP is considered a success because, for the most part, it complies with these criteria. The ministries of labor in sending countries do their best to conform to these requirements, as they compete against other participating coun- tries to produce the optimal labor force to en- sure their continued participation in the pro- gram and the related remittances and political acclaim to the government for securing lucra- tive positions abroad. Workers who are unable or unwilling to successfully perform their subordi- nation are quickly removed from the program.
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  • Fall '14
  • Human migration, Migrant worker, workers, Foreign worker, ideal migrant worker

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