United Farm Workers organizers are receiving reports about ICE stopping farm workers on rural intersections and roadways in major farming regions throughout California. ICE agents are using these immigration actions to stop, interrogate and sometimes arrest farm workers as they go to and from work in the Central Valley, from Lamont and Taft in the south to Atwater, Madera and Merced in the north. Similar reports are coming from Salinas and the Central Coast.
The UFW denounces these enforcement actions targeting hard working people who have not violated the law and whose hard labor and sacrifice feed America and the world. The union is hearing stories from farm workers who are afraid to leave their homes.
Do growers who supported and financed the campaign that put Donald Trump in office condone the climate of fear that is gripping farm worker communities? The only just and equitable solution to the immigration problems plaguing California’s agricultural industry is comprehensive immigration reform, not stripping farm workers of the few protections built into the existing federal guest worker program, as some Republican lawmakers have proposed. Such legislative schemes are aimed at driving down the wages and working conditions of all agricultural workers. We will fight them.
The UFW believes existing pay and protections for farm workers need to be strengthened, not weakened. ICE should also immediately cease its aggressive enforcement victimizing law-abiding, hard-working men and women who only want to go to work.