The ICRMW and the US: Substantive Overlap, Political Gap
Beth Lyon and
No h9urc, LawArXiv from Center for Open Science
The United States has never seriously considered signing the UN International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (ICRMW, Migrant Workers Convention, the Convention). Despite the country’s close involvement with negotiating the Convention, the United States has shown no interest in the treaty since its promulgation in 1990. The major countries of migrant employment that initially participated in negotiating the Convention set it aside, and the treaty now has only 38 signatories and 51 state parties. The European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee, and the Organization of American States have all favorably reported on the ICRMW and called on the countries in those regions to ratify it. However, there are obstacles to immediate ratification by countries of employment, including prominently the “fear to be among the first” and domestic anti-immigrant sentiment. Even as the Convention slowly accrues country-of-origin ratifications, advocates and officials in many countries of employment are undertaking pre-ratification studies of the treaty. The United States, however, has not yet assessed the Migrant Workers Convention in a substantive way. The United States’ delay in engaging the Convention fits the country’s past human rights treaty ratification processes. When it does consider the ICRMW, the United States is likely to heavily restrict ratification of the Convention, just as it has in ratifying previous human rights treaties. This chapter describes the United States’ substantive objections during the treaty negotiations, and points out that most of the passages that were objectionable at the time were or have since become part of U.S. law.
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