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In recent years, California has served as the primary laboratory for policy experimentation related to unauthorized immigrant workers’ rights. No other state, to date, has advanced comparable policy initiatives that preserve state-provided workers’ rights regardless of immigration status. Through close examination of two open Supremacy Clause questions under California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Act, the article illustrates that states can, as a constitutional matter, and should, as a policy matter, serve as laboratories for unauthorized immigrant worker rights. Exploring the outer boundaries of state action in this area is particularly compelling given the significant labor force participation of unauthorized immigrants in low-wage jobs in the United States, given the disproportionate labor rights violations experienced by this population and given thirty years of federal legislative inaction on comprehensive immigration reform.


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© UC Davis School of Law. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Suggested Citation
Griffith, K. L. (2017). The power of a presumption: California as a laboratory for unauthorized immigrant workers’ rights [Electronic version]. UC Davis Law Review, 50(3), 1279-1322.