Sarah Bronwen Horton
Areas of Expertise & Civic Involvements
Horton researches how U.S. labor laws and immigration policies affect immigrant farmworkers by using ethnographic methods, or intensive immersion in immigrant communities and interviews. This methodology gives her an insider’s perspective on how immigrant farmworkers’ strategies for getting health care and employment, as well as the reasons behind farmworkers’ poor health outcomes. Horton has worked with California Rural Legal Assistance and United Farmworkers in California, and with immigrant advocacy organizations in Denver, Colorado.
Documents in detail how U.S. immigration, labor, health care, disability and food policies converge to lead to premature death among migrant farmworkers - both inside and outside the fields.
Argues that many employers in agriculture evade labor and immigration laws by forcing farmworkers to work the Social Security cards and green cards or passports of other people, complicating one-sided portrayals of “identity theft” in immigrant-dominated workplaces.
Argues that many migrant farmworkers exchange work authorization documents in immigrant communities, and that this practice leads to the disproportionate benefit of legal residents and U.S. citizens.
Discusses why undocumented immigrants often avoid the U.S. health care system, as well as the way that U.S. policies jeopardize the health of such immigrants’ citizen children.
Argues that supervisors in large agribusiness companies avoid federal immigration law by making their undocumented employees work under the documents of others, thereby making them invisible to state and federal authorities. Explains that changes in immigration laws allow such workers to be prosecuted for “identity theft,” which in turn may lead not only to their deportation but to extended bars on their legal re-entry.
Explains Mexican immigrants’ dissatisfaction with the U.S. health care system from the perspective of those who seek health care on the border, illustrating the contrast from their experiences with health care in Mexico.