Farmworker Justice Condemns the Content and the Intent of the RAISE Act

Farmworker Justice opposes the proposed RAISE Act introduced by Sen. Perdue of Georgia and Sen. Cotton of Arkansas with the support of President Trump.  If enacted, the bill would substantially restrict immigration and deprive families of the opportunity to be together and contribute to this nation.  The underlying message of this bill is to scapegoat immigrants for the problems this country faces.  Demonizing immigrants is intended to distract us from the constructive solutions that are needed. 

Any immigration policy proposal needs to take into account the agricultural system’s dependence on the highly-productive, honorable labor of immigrants, a majority of whom currently lack authorized immigration status.  Farmworkers possess skills and experience that our economy needs.  The bill’s sponsors claim they want to focus on allowing “ultra high-skilled” people to obtain some visas, but this economy and our society benefits from immigrants in all walks of life. This bill does nothing to address the reality that hundreds of thousands of farmworkers who produce our food and contribute to rural communities are living and working under the threat of arrest, deportation and separation of their families. 

Congress should ensure the stability of the farm labor force and security of our food supply by granting undocumented farmworkers the opportunity to earn immigration status and citizenship.  Employers should improve wages and working conditions to attract and retain farmworkers, and some are doing so.  If additional farmworkers are needed in the future for our farms and ranches to produce our food, they should have the opportunity to enter this country as immigrants and the opportunity to become citizens with economic freedom and democratic rights.