Need more proof that the agriculture industry is the root cause of the system that encourages undocumented workers to risk it all for a better future in America? Well here you go.
Growers and farmworker unions said Tuesday that a federal immigration crackdown in rural towns is scaring away workers and forcing cutbacks in production of hand-harvested produce.
The comments came as part of a push for a long-shot bill by California Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris to revive Feinstein’s 2013 “blue-card” visa proposal that would provide legal status and a path to citizenship for farmworkers.
“Wherever I go in California — I was just up in the wine industry — when I talk to dairy farmers, when I talk to small farmers in the Bay Area, even some in the Central Valley, they tell me they can’t find workers,” Feinstein said on a conference call with reporters. “That workers are scared, that they’re afraid they’re going to be picked up and deported, that they have disappeared.”
Feinstein said growers tell her they are looking to set up operations in Mexico, but “that’s not the answer. The people who feed us should have an opportunity to work here legally.”
Feinstein’s office, using a UC Davis estimate, said 70 percent of California’s 560,000 farmworkers are in the country without authorization. Her bill, the Agricultural Worker Program Act, would grant “blue card” legal status to farmworkers who have worked in agriculture for at least 100 days in both 2015 and 2016. If they continue working on farms for at least 150 days a year over the following three years, or 100 days a year for the following five years, they would be eligible for permanent residency.
Undocumented (read slave) labor is what Big Ag really wants. America’s politicians have been happy to oblige.
Read the whole story in the San Francisco Chronicle