Keene, CA – In the same week that hundreds of farmworkers came to Washington, DC to push for immigration reform, the United Farm Workers and farm worker groups from across the country celebrate a historic compromise with the nation’s largest grower associations to provide a special route to legal status for the nation’s farm workers. This compromise was brokered by U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Orrin Hatch (R-UT). The proposal will be included as part of the comprehensive bill which will now include both a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants and a separate process towards legalization and citizenship for farm workers. The UFW has been working towards this goal for over a decade with partners in the faith, labor and non-profit communities.
“The UFW is very pleased. Under the proposed new immigration process, farm workers would be able to work in the fields without fear of getting deported immediately and will be able to reunite with their families in a relatively short period of time. The bill would give professional farm workers presently in the U.S., who have been contributing to our country, temporary legal status and the right to earn a green card in the future by continuing to work in agriculture,” said UFW President Arturo Rodriguez.
“Farm workers are the backbone of our agriculture industry here in the United States and a speedier process toward proper documentation provides an incentive for those farm workers who are currently working in agriculture to continue working in agriculture,” Rodriguez added.
Farm workers will have the option to apply for paperwork to legalize their status in the U.S. either through the regular process for non-agricultural workers, or through the special process created for those working in the agriculture industry.
Rodriguez concluded: “Farm workers are one step closer to winning legal status and the much-earned recognition for their contributions to the United States. We believe this compromise could be a vehicle for improving the working conditions and job opportunities for farm workers. We deeply appreciate the work of Senators Feinstein, Rubio, Bennet, and Hatch on this proposal and we look forward to continuing to work with them, the President and our other allies in the Congress to pass immigration reform this year. In the end, with a lot of hard work, we will win. Si se puede!”