Negotiating Citizenship: Migrant Women in Canada and the by Daiva K. Stasiulis, Abigail B. Bakan (auth.)

By Daiva K. Stasiulis, Abigail B. Bakan (auth.)

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The argument presented here takes exception to this pride of place for Canada’s domestic worker policy. We contend that the LCP appears as a favourable policy only because the conditions of domestic workers on a world scale are so universally oppressive. Yet the measure of abuse considered to be ‘acceptable’ for domestic workers is itself subject to specialized criteria. These criteria are a feature of several factors: the generally degraded status of women’s work in the home, the absence of comprehensive public support for childcare, the denial of citizenship rights to immigrant labour, racist assumptions about women of colour and the social construction of class divisions among women that are brought into focus with the private employment of domestic workers.

The setting of the direction of policies governing rights of entry into liberal democratic states occurs within a contested arena that involves a wide array of pro- and 30 Negotiating Citizenship anti-migrant/refugee movements. 85 While migration and refugee policies are a contested terrain, there is a secular trend towards more restrictive and selective immigration, refugee and border crossing86 laws and policies within advanced states. 87 Security and control issues, while always a part of border (immigration and deportation) policies of migrant receiving nations, have received increased prominence in order to regulate and exclude autonomous migration.

The material basis for the legitimacy of regimes imposing wage rollbacks and drastic cutbacks in services depends on the skills, intensified work and sacrifices of women to stretch dwindling resources in their households, and on the decision of many to work overseas in order to send home foreign remittances. As Cynthia Enloe maintains, the politics of international debt is not simply something that has an impact on women in indebted countries. 71 Economic dislocations associated with neo-liberal policies, exacerbating previous patterns of underdevelopment as a result of centuries of colonialism and neo-colonialism, are the underlying forces for much of the recent migration from Third World to advanced economies.

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