Immigration Controls and 'Modern-Day Slavery'

50 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2013 Last revised: 30 Jul 2013

Date Written: July 16, 2013


Are immigration controls the single biggest legal factor contributing to modern‐day slavery?

In a national and international political moment in which immigration law and policy are being hotly debated, participants in the debate should recognize the impact of strict migration controls – one of the clearest results of the current U.S. immigration law reform effort – is to exacerbate conditions of immiseration that are frequently associated by anti‐trafficking advocates and reformers with "modern‐day slavery." Conversely, those who are fighting to end modern‐day slavery might be best advised to focus on immigration reform that relaxes border control and increases the rights and remedies of undocumented migrants, as the measures that could most provide immediate redress.

Keywords: immigration, slavery, law, reform, border control, rights, undocumented, migrants

Suggested Citation

Thomas, Chantal, Immigration Controls and 'Modern-Day Slavery' (July 16, 2013). Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 13-86, Available at SSRN: or

Chantal Thomas (Contact Author)

Cornell Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States


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