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Making “Adversarial Legalism” the H-2 Way of Law

Studies in Law, Politics, and Society

ISBN: 978-1-83867-059-7, eISBN: 978-1-83867-058-0

Publication date: 5 August 2019


Since the late 1970s, US employers have increasingly drawn upon legal temporary labor under the H-2 visa to address their labor needs in low-waged sectors. Ever since, what Clark calls migrant labor activism and conflict in the courts has similarly erupted. However, as she argues in this chapter, making “adversarial legalism” the H-2 way of law has also been a story of comparative state formation. For, the litigation largely reflects the structure of labor migration created after the demise of government-run migration. In this regard, activists wrestle with the problems created by the new role of global labor intermediaries in the recruitment process, absolute employer control over hiring and firing, and the coercion produced in the shadow of a now minimally interventionist state. Drawing upon archival research, interviews with legal professionals, and the entire case law docket in this area, this chapter puts “adversarial legalism” under the H-2 visa in its historical and political context.



Clark, G.E. (2019), "Making “Adversarial Legalism” the H-2 Way of Law", Studies in Law, Politics, and Society (Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, Vol. 80), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 33-57.



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