Human Rights Education

Location

University of Dayton

Start Date

10-2-2015 10:30 AM

End Date

10-2-2015 12:00 PM

Abstract

This paper explains how non-state actors, including churches and non-profit organizations, work informally to protect the economic and social rights of undocumented Mexican immigrants. Under international law, economic and social rights should apply equally to non-citizens unless distinctions in their protection are necessary and proportionate to a legitimate State objective.

There is no legitimate State objective to deny food, shelter or health care to non-citizens. Despite this, Federal and State governments in the United States take no express responsibility to respect, protect or fulfill the economic and social rights of undocumented migrants. The authors designate this lacuna in state protection as a “migrant rights gap.” The authors focus their study on the State of Minnesota where churches and organizations have worked informally to meet the rights of the Mexican migrant community, which would have been otherwise unrecognized and unrealized by the State.

While organizations in this informal network do not choose to explain or explicitly carry out their work through the human rights framework, the services they provide -- often with the implicit approval of the government -- in fact allow the government to comply with its fundamental obligations with regard to the “migrant rights gap,” thereby addressing both the well-being of individual migrants and the society as a whole.

The article profiles several organizations in Minnesota which provide services to undocumented Mexican immigrants. The organizations generally offer their services without questioning the immigration status of the people they serve, though their staff people and volunteers are aware that a substantial percentage of the Mexican immigrants who walk in their doors do not have proper immigration status. The organizations are aware of the lack of options for undocumented immigrants and, expressly or implicitly, their services constitute the only path these migrants have to realize their economic and social rights.

Comments

This biennial conference provides a unique space for scholars, practitioners and advocates to engage in collaboration, dialogue and critical analysis of human rights advocacy — locally and globally. Learn more about the Human Rights Center at the University of Dayton >>>.

 
Oct 2nd, 10:30 AM Oct 2nd, 12:00 PM

Oral History as a Methodology for Teaching Human Rights (abstract)

University of Dayton

This paper explains how non-state actors, including churches and non-profit organizations, work informally to protect the economic and social rights of undocumented Mexican immigrants. Under international law, economic and social rights should apply equally to non-citizens unless distinctions in their protection are necessary and proportionate to a legitimate State objective.

There is no legitimate State objective to deny food, shelter or health care to non-citizens. Despite this, Federal and State governments in the United States take no express responsibility to respect, protect or fulfill the economic and social rights of undocumented migrants. The authors designate this lacuna in state protection as a “migrant rights gap.” The authors focus their study on the State of Minnesota where churches and organizations have worked informally to meet the rights of the Mexican migrant community, which would have been otherwise unrecognized and unrealized by the State.

While organizations in this informal network do not choose to explain or explicitly carry out their work through the human rights framework, the services they provide -- often with the implicit approval of the government -- in fact allow the government to comply with its fundamental obligations with regard to the “migrant rights gap,” thereby addressing both the well-being of individual migrants and the society as a whole.

The article profiles several organizations in Minnesota which provide services to undocumented Mexican immigrants. The organizations generally offer their services without questioning the immigration status of the people they serve, though their staff people and volunteers are aware that a substantial percentage of the Mexican immigrants who walk in their doors do not have proper immigration status. The organizations are aware of the lack of options for undocumented immigrants and, expressly or implicitly, their services constitute the only path these migrants have to realize their economic and social rights.