Immigration and Labor Resources
Resources Written by Farmworker Justice
► Weeding Out Abuses: Recommendations for a law- abiding farm labor system by Farmworker Justice and Oxfam America
► Bruce Goldstein Written Testimony April 2011 before the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement Hearing on: “The H-2A Visa Program: Meeting the Growing Needs of American Agriculture?"
► Bruce Goldstein Written Testimony Sept 2011 before Workforce Protections Subcommittee of the House Education and Workforce Committee: Workforce Challenges Facing the Agriculture Industry
► Union Contracts with H-2A Employers:
The Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) has a contract with the North Carolina Growers Association, providing significant improvements in wages and working conditions for some 6,000 workers.
► Fact Sheet on the The Bush Administration’s Shameful Legacy for Farmworkers: Midnight Bush Administration H-2A Program Regulations.
► Picked Apart: The Hidden Struggles of Migrant Worker Women in the Maryland Crab Industry - American University's Washington College of Law and the Centro de los derechos del Migrante (Center for Migrant Rights) report on the lives of H-2B guestworkers in the Maryland crab industry. It is an excellent resource with lots of detailed information about housing conditions, common workplace injuries and sexual harassment. It also contains information on illegal recruitment fees the workers pay for the visa in their home countries.
► Piñeros: Men of the Pines- The abuse and exploitation of H-2B forestry workers has been extensively documented by Tom Knudson and Hector Amezcua of the Sacramento Bee in a series of award winning articles documenting the life of H-2B forestry workers in the US.
► Beneath the Pines - Written by The Southern Poverty Law Center's Immigrant Justice Project tells the stories of migrant pine tree workers.
► The Northwest Workers' Justice Project and the Brennan Center for Justice filed a complaint under the labor side agreement to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) seeking access to justice for H-2B guestworkers. Read the history of that complaint here.
Farmworker Justice has supported the historic AgJOBS farmworker immigration compromise for many years. While AgJOBS has not been introduced as stand-alone legislation in the 112th Congress, it is included within Senator Menendez’s Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2011, S. 1258. AgJOBS is in Part V, sections 150-159.
► Farmworker Justice Summary of AgJOBS
Additionally, Representative Berman introduced the Agricultural Labor Market Reform Act, H. R. 3017. H.R. 3017 would stabilize the farm labor force while removing incentives for agricultural employers to hire guestworkers over US workers. Farmworker Justice supports the Agricultural Labor Market Reform Act.
Harmful Agricultural Guestworker Proposals
House Reps. Lungren (R-Cal.), Smith (R-Tex.), and Kingston (R-Ga.) and Senator Chambliss (R-Ga.) have each proposed agricultural guestworker legislation as the “solution” for agriculture’s labor force. These proposals would reduce or eliminate critical worker protections and government oversight from the current H-2A agricultural guestworker program or create an entirely new guestworker program with minimal protections or oversight. There are also several proposals to expand the H-2A agricultural guestworker program to year-round jobs in dairy without addressing the current experienced dairy workers or improving farmworker wages and working conditions.
Farmworker Justice strongly opposes these guestworker proposals and continues to seek meaningful reform that protects US workers and provides undocumented farmworkers an opportunity to earn legal immigration status. Farmworker Justice is working to educate Congress and the public about the fundamentally flawed nature of the H-2A agricultural guestworker program. For more information about the inherently abusive H-2A program, please read our report, No Way to Treat a Guest.
Farmworker Justice Fact Sheets and Texts of Bills
► Rep. Lungren (R-Cal.),Agricultural Workforce Act, H.R. 2895
► Rep. Smith (R-Tex.), American Specialty Agriculture Act , H.R. 2847.
► Rep. Kingston (R-Ga.), BARN Act, H.R. 3443.
- Farmworker Justice Fact Sheet
- Legislative Language
► Senator Chambliss (R-Ga.), HARVEST Act, S. 1384.
The H-2A Guestworker Program: Not a Proper Solution for Dairy
Senator Leahy and Senators Schumer and Lee have introduced guestworker bills, the H-2A Improvement Act, S. 852, and the DASH Act, S. 1697, respectively, that would expand the H-2A temporary foreign agricultural worker program to include jobs at year-round dairy operations. Congress should not expand the H-2A program, which provides temporary work visas for seasonal jobs, to full-year jobs at dairies.
► Farmworker Justice Fact Sheet on H-2A and Dairy Proposals
Farmworker Justice President Bruce Goldstein’s Congressional Testimony on the H-2A program, harmful guestworker proposals, and the need for sensible immigration reform:
► Written Testimony April 2011 before the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement Hearing on: “The H-2A Visa Program: Meeting the Growing Needs of American Agriculture?"
► Written Testimony Sept 2011 before Workforce Protections Subcommittee of the House Education and Workforce Committee: Workforce Challenges Facing the Agriculture Industry
Farmworker Justice has created this flyer about immigration reform as a tool for outreach workers and other advocates to handout to farmworkers. The flyer explains to farmworkers the general requirements contained in the blue card program contained in the Senate passed immigration reform bill, S.744. The flyer warns that the bill is not yet law so farmworkers should avoid unscrupulous notarios and others seeking to defraud farmworkers. The flyer also advises farmworkers to save certain types of paperwork in the event that immigration reform passes.
► ► Información Importante sobre la Inmigración para Trabajadores Agrícolas de parte de Justicia Campesina
►Talking points on immigration reform for farmworkers that can be used in meetings with Congressional staff are available here.
The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, S.744: On June 27, 2013, the Senate passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, S. 744, by a bipartisan vote of 68-32. The bill’s passage brings us one step closer to fixing our broken immigration policy and modernizing agricultural labor relations. Farmworker Justice’s statement on the bill’s passage is available here.
► Read Farmworker Justice's summary of the agriculture immigration stakeholder agreement in the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013
The Agricultural Guestworker Act, H.R. 1773, Rep. Goodlatte (R-VA)
On June 19th, the House Judiciary Committee passed Chairman Bob Goodlatte's Agricultural Guestworker Act, HR 1773, by a vote of 20-16 along party lines. Rep. Goodlatte’s “Ag Act” is a one-sided and harsh bill that stands in stark contrast to the balanced stakeholder agreement. The bill would create a massive new agricultural guestworker program, which would deprive U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents of job opportunities, lower farmworkers’ already poor wages, and allow exploitative conditions for hundreds of thousands of new guestworkers. Significantly, Goodlatte’s bill fails to address our broken immigration system and does not offer an opportunity for the current experienced farmworkers who lack authorized immigration status to earn a roadmap to citizenship.
► Farmworker Justice's Additional Talking Points on the Treatment of Undocumented Workers in H.R. 1773
Rep. Ross ( R-FL), Legal Agricultural Workforce Act, H.R. 242
On January 14, 2013, Rep. Ross introduced the Legal Agricultural Workforce Act, HR 242, which would devastate America’s farmworkers and endanger our nation’s food system. Rep. Ross proposes a massive new guestworker program with no meaningful labor protections. Rep. Ross ignores the lessons of history by eliminating virtually all of the labor protections that have been recognized for decades as necessary to prevent displacement of U.S. workers, depression of U.S. workers’ wage rates, and exploitation of foreign citizens.
There are remarkably few data sets about the demographic and economic characteristics of farmworkers – people hired to labor on farms and ranches in the United States. Among the few studies that do exist, many have significant shortcomings. One of the better sources for over 20 years has been the National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS), commissioned by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). A random sample of farmworkers is interviewed regarding their families, their jobs, immigration status , and health. There are additional categories that vary between surveys. In the past, the DOL published several helpful reports based on the NAWS data. Unfortunately, DOL has not published a report in many years and until recently it even stopped releasing the data to the public. Farmworker Justice requested and obtained DOL’s release of the public data from the 2011-2012 surveys. The raw data is available at http://www.doleta.gov/agworker/naws.cfm.
Our staff examined the survey data to provide a basic economic and demographic portrait of farmworkers, including data related to some of the specific policy issues in which we work. We have not conducted a complete analysis of all the data. This memorandum summarizes some of the major findings drawn from the NAWS to help inform the public, policymakers, and organizations that serve farmworkers.