Date of Award

Fall 2017

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 2017 María Castañeda Soria. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Peace & Conflict Studies Department

First Advisor

Nanci Buiza

Second Advisor

Milton Machuca-Galvez


This thesis focuses on the experiences of Mexican migrant women laboring in the American H-2 temporary visa program and the resistance strategies they have developed to fight against exploitation. Migrant women in this program often experience discrimination and workplace violations due to their gender and temporary status. By examining the intersections of gender, race, and legality, I explore how these factors create a unique, challenging situation for migrant women. A large part of this work is historical as it aims to situate the H-2 visa program as a continuation of past worker programs. These are programs with the objective to fill labor shortages with migrant labor, while at the same time not allowing these workers to remain in the US as permanent members of society. In this context, women resist by building networks and utilizing the laws available to them. This thesis pulls from reports and various academic sources to construct an argument analyzing the impacts of gender on migrant women's status as temporary workers, as well as the historical context and racialization of Mexican workers as a whole.