Family South Bend

Defending Against Hate

Are you a migrant worker that has experienced hate, harassment, or violence based on your ethnicity? 

Teaching Our Community the Human Value of Migrant and Immigrant Farmworkers.

For over 45 years, Migrant Legal Aid (MLA) has built trust with migrant workers through outreach and counsel. Now more than ever, workers tell us about their fears—of physical violence, of their children’s safety, of losing their rights, and of ICE. Defending Against Hate is the first program of its kind, connecting law enforcement, school systems, and migrants to facilitate communication and understanding.


Our goal is to protect migrant workers and to reduce acts and words of hate directed at documented and undocumented immigrants.

Hate Crimes Against Migrant Workers Are on the Rise

  • Immigrants are more likely to be victims of hate crimes nationwide.  
  • In 2016, Michigan was ranked fourth nationally for reported hate crimes according to the FBI. 
  • There are an estimated 94,000 migrant workers and family members in Michigan. 

Our Strategies

  • Encourage migrant workers to report crimes or acts of hate, harassment, and bullying to MLA and/or law enforcement. 
  • Inform migrant workers about their responsibilities and rights. 
  • Meet with law enforcement groups throughout the community to educate them about migrant workers, dispel misconceptions about documented and undocumented statuses, and encourage empathy and understanding. 
  • Arrange positive interactions between law enforcement and migrants, visiting migrant housing sites to introduce them to migrant workers and facilitate their communication. 
  • Educate community groups about migrant workers’ lives and how their work benefits the entire community.  
  • Develop presentations about bullying, intimidation, and harassment for delivery in schools.

“Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.”

-Cesar Chávez

Migrant Legal Aid in Action

Grant Shooter Sentencing Hearing

Workplace Violence

Al worked up to 10 hours a day, seven days a week. His white supervisors bullied and tormented him with racial slurs. They physically assaulted him with heavy chains, sabotaged his work, and mistreated him to the point of severe psychological trauma. MLA intervened and prevented ongoing discrimination and harassment.



School Bullying

A Hispanic mother of two school-age children contacted MLA after her eldest son had been repeatedly tormented by other students based on his race, with racial slurs and comments. School officials refused to intervene to stop the harassment, so the student dropped out and enrolled elsewhere. MLA has initiated work with the school community to ensure that bullying stops.

RESOURCES: State of Michigan. (2013). Concentration of Migrant and seasonal Farmworkers and Dependent Nonworkers by County 2013. Retrieved from

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