Elvia R. Arriola, Accountability for Murder in the Maquiladoras: Linking Corporate Indifference to Gender Violence at the U.S.-Mexico Border, Vol. 5 (No. 2) Seattle Journal for Social Justice 603 (2007).

Elvia R. Arriola, La Responsabilidad por los Asesinatos en las Maquiladoras: El Vínculo Entre La Indiferencia Empresarial y la Violencia de Género en la Frontera Entre Estados Unidos y México (2007) (PDF) en Derecho, Democracia y Economía de Mercado, Eds., Daniel Bonilla, Colin Crawford y Carmen González (2010).

Elvia R. Arriola, Pregnancy, Labor and Murder at the Mexican Border (speech at Univ. of Texas El Paso 2004).

Reka S. Koerner, Pregnancy Discrimination in Mexico: Has Mexico Complied with the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation, 4 Tex. F. on C.L. & C.R.  235 (1998-1999).

Debra Cohen Maryanov, Sweatshop Liability: Corporate Codes of Conduct and the Governance of Labor Standards in the International Supply Chain, 14 Lewis & Clark L. Rev.  397 (2010).

Joshua M. Kagan, Workers’ Rights in the Mexican Maquiladora Sector: Collective Bargaining, Women’s Rights, and General Human Rights: Law, Norms, and Practice, 15 J. Transnat’l L. & Pol’y  153 (2005-2006).

Corey Tanner-Rosati, Is There a Remedy to Sex Discrimination in Maquiladoras, 16 Law & Bus. Rev. Am.  533 (2010).

Cody Jacobs, Trade We Can Believe In: Negotiating NAFTA’s Labor Provisions to Create More Equitable Growth in North America, 17 Geo. J. on Poverty L. & Pol’y  127 (2010).

Robert Russo, A Cooperative Conundrum – The NAALC and Mexican Migrant Workers in the United States, 17 Law & Bus. Rev. Am.  27 (2011).

Nina Philadelphoff-Puren, Dereliction: Women, Rape and Football, 21 Austl. Feminist L.J.  39 (2004).

Thomas Chantal, Globalization and the Border: Trade, Labor, Migration, and Agricultural Production in Mexico, 41 McGeorge L. Rev.  867 (2009-2010).

John H. Knox, The Neglected Lessons of the NAFTA Environmental Regime, 45 Wake Forest L. Rev.  391 (2010).

Carmen G. Gonzalez, An Environmental Justice Critique of Comparative Advantage: Indigenous Peoples, Trade Policy, and the Mexican Neoliberal Economic Reforms, 32 U. Pa. J. Int’l L.  723 (2010-2011).

Synopsis of Carmen G. Gonzalez article:  Carmen G. Gonzalez’ article critiques the free market reforms adopted by Mexico in the wake of the debt crisis of the 1980s and in connection with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  She begins her analysis by explaining the theoretical underpinning of these reforms — the theory of comparative advantage, which posits that countries should specialize in products they produce relatively more efficiently and should import goods that they produce relatively less efficiently.  Her article then examines the practical and theoretical limitations of this theory from an environmental justice perspective using the Mexican corn sector under NAFTA as a case study.  The article examines the impact on Mexican farmers and on the environment of Mexico’s neoliberal economic reforms, which eliminated tariffs on imported corn and re-directed subsidies away from small farmers and toward large, export-oriented agricultural enterprises.  These policies resulted in a surge of cheap, imported corn from the United States that drove millions of Mexican farmers off the land and promoted the abandonment of traditional, environmentally-friendly agricultural practices in favor of environmentally destructive industrial agriculture.  Mexican farmers who abandoned agricultural production found work in oppressive maquiladoras. When the number of migrants vastly exceeded available jobs, many migrated to the United States.  Far from promoting prosperity in Mexico, NAFTA devastated rural livelihoods, increased unemployment, and accelerated migration to the United States.  Mexico’s indigenous communities were disproportionately affected by these reforms because migration to urban areas resulted in separation from ancestral lands and resources necessary for both economic and cultural survival.  Gonzalez urges policy-makers to develop trade agreements that give primacy to the protection of human rights, reduce North/South inequality, promote long-term prosperity of poor countries, improve environmental quality, and reduce incentives to migrate.  Indeed, this is precisely the approach to regional integration pioneered by the European Union, which maintains open borders by investing billions of euros in poorer regions in order to create jobs, fund local development projects,  provide aid to farmers, and protect the environment.  Rather than criminalizing immigrants and militarizing the U.S.-Mexican border, the United States would be well-advised to recognize the relationship between trade policy and migration and to develop an alternative approach to regional integration that promotes rather than frustrates economic, social and environmental justice.


Can Maquiladora workers sue their employers? Introducing a Primer exploring the idea of making maquiladora companies accountable for abuse of their employees. Maquiladora in Piedras Negras, Coahuila


Worker's Home. . . . Cd. Acuña






by Elvia R. Arriola, J.D., M.A., Executive Director, Women on the Border

Justice in the maquiladoras can be an arduous and elusive project. While the labor rights articulated for Mexican workers are generous the biggest obstacle is enforcement of those rights. A worker who doesn’t know her rights is unlikely to know how to navigate the system of compliance under her country’s system. It is even more frustrating to discover that a factory is actually owned by a parent company headquartered far away in the Northern U.S. Distance, lack of access to the English language and lack of funds to hire someone to represent her present the typical obstacles.

Meanwhile the rights of human dignity guaranteed to workers by their Constitution are violated day in and day out. Continue reading Accountability for Corporate…