Each year, millions of men, women and children leave their countries of origin as economic migrants.
In recognition of the increasing number of migrants worldwide, on December 4, 2000, the UN General Assembly declared today as International Migrants Day:
Member States unanimously adopted a Declaration in which they recognized the important contribution of migration to development and called for greater cooperation to address the challenges of irregular migration and to facilitate safe, orderly and regular migration. The Declaration also emphasized the need to respect the human rights of migrants and to promote international labour standards. The Declaration strongly condemns manifestations of racism and intolerance and stresses the need to improve public perceptions of migrants and migration.
Hundreds of thousands of these individuals set out for the United States to work in a wide-range of industries, including agriculture, construction, landscaping, meat packing, tourism, domestic work, among others. The United States benefits on the backs of these workers every day. Far too often these workers are cheated out of their wages, discriminated against, work under dangerous conditions, and are denied basic health and safety protections.
We are thankful for the important economic and societal contributions of these migrant workers. On this day, we stand with these workers and activists around the world who speak out for dignity and justice for all migrant workers.
Mónica Ramírez is the daughter and granddaughter of migrant farmworkers. She has been a farmworker and immigrant rights activist for more than 18 years. Mónica is nationally recognized as an expert and a leader in the movement to end gender discrimination, including workplace sexual violence, against farmworker and immigrant women. She is also a contributor to Latino Rebels.