Latest News

Below are our latest news on important news and events relating to policy changes and issues affecting farmworkers and their families.

May 25, 2017

Washington, D.C- Today, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), joined by 26 cosponsors, introduced the “Agricultural Worker Program Act of 2017.” It is the companion to the bill of the same name introduced by Sen. Feinstein three weeks ago, S.1034. The bill would allow many undocumented farmworkers and their family members the opportunity to earn legal immigration status and citizenship.  
Farmworker Justice strongly supports the Agricultural Worker Program Act because it would provide a needed, meaningful opportunity for farmworkers and family members to earn lawful permanent residency with a path to citizenship. The farmworkers and family members who obtain immigration status under this legislation would no longer have to live and work in fear of arrest and deportation.  The bill would help stabilize the farm labor force, providing farms and ranches with authorized, experienced farmworkers.
Farmworker Justice welcomes the introduction of this bill in the House of Representatives by Rep. Gutierrez, who is a member of the Judiciary Committee and for many years has advocated for reasonable immigration reform and for fair treatment of farmworker families. The Agricultural Worker Program Act is supported by many labor, immigrant rights and other organizations, including the United Farm Workers, the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, PCUN (Oregon’s farmworker union) and the National Farm Worker Ministry.    
The Agricultural Worker Program Act stands in stark contrast to other bills in the House and Senate that would create harsh agricultural guestworker programs with no meaningful solution for the current undocumented farmworkers or their employers who depend on their skills, experience and knowledge. 
For more information on the bill, please see our Fact Sheet.

May 09, 2017

12:30pm ET / 9:30am PT
PRESS CALL: Sen. Feinstein, Rep. Gutiérrez, United Farm Workers, Farmworker Justice, and Farmers to Discuss New Legislation to Protect Immigrant Farmworkers
Washington, DC —On a press call Tuesday, May 9 at 12:30pm EST, Senator Feinstein (D-CA), Rep. Gutiérrez (D-IL), and Farmworker Justice President Bruce Goldstein will join United Farm Worker President Arturo Rodriguez,  farm workers, and farm owners to discuss the widespread implications of Trump’s immigration policies and the Agricultural Worker Program Act, legislation introduced by Senators Feinstein, Leahy (D-VT), Bennet (D-CO), Hirono (D-HI), and Harris (D-CA) to protect farm workers from deportation and put them on a pathway to legalization and citizenship. More information about the new legislation is available here.

Trump’s Mass Deportation strategy has produced fear tidal waves throughout not only the immigrant communities, but all sectors of the labor force — as over half of all United States farm workers are undocumented, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and over 8 million undocumented immigrants contribute to America’s workforce, according to Pew Research Center.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Representative Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL)
Sagrario Arellano, Dairy Worker from Centralia, WA
Lourdes Cardenas, Grape Worker, Central Valley California
Bruce Goldstein, President, Farmworker Justice
Shah Kazemi, President and Owner, Monterey Mushrooms (the nation’s largest mushroom farm with operations in CA, FL, TN, TX, IL, and PA)
Arturo S. Rodriguez, President, United Farm Workers of America (Moderator)
WHEN: TUESDAY, May 9 at 12:30pm ET / 9:30am PT

May 05, 2017

Yesterday, the House passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a bill that repeals and replaces the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The AHCA would roll back the gains farmworkers and their families have made under the ACA. In addition to repealing the employer and individual mandates, the AHCA will eliminate protections for individuals’ pre-existing conditions, reduce access to comprehensive health insurance and the ACA’s essential health benefits, and end Medicaid expansion. It will also make health insurance less affordable for low-income individuals and families by restructuring the ACA’s tax credits. Not only will tax credits be based on age instead of income, but eligibility for tax credits will be restricted to a narrow category of immigrants. Farmworkers in the U.S. on H-2A temporary work visas, who are currently able to enroll in health insurance at affordable rates under the ACA, will no longer qualify for tax credits.

Agricultural work is one of the most hazardous occupations in the U.S. Congress should act to address health disparities in farmworker communities instead of repealing their access to meaningful care. Farmworker Justice opposes the AHCA and any efforts to reduce access to health care for farmworkers and their families. Given the numerous barriers to health care, farmworkers need more options for health insurance coverage, not fewer.