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United Farm Workers President Teresa Romero awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom

United Farm Workers & UFW Foundation Welcome New Federal Rules to Reform the H-2A Program

Washington, D.C.—The United Farm Workers and the UFW Foundation welcome the finalization of U.S. Department of Labor rules to reform the H-2A temporary agricultural guest worker program. The rules create fresh safeguards for both domestic U.S. and H-2A farm workers, addressing longstanding abuses in the program and holding accountable employers who use it to mistreat farm workers.

The changes are an overdue and necessary response to multiple instances of abuse, exploitation, and human trafficking in the H-2A program, according to farm worker advocates.

The conscience of America has been truly shocked at repeated instances of ill-treatment and wrongdoing within the H-2A program, including what was starkly revealed by Operation Blooming Onion in Georgia,” said President of the United Farm Workers Teresa Romero. “We are encouraged by the leadership of Acting Secretary Julie Su and the Biden-Harris administration in stepping up to meet this moral crisis at the heart of American agriculture. With these new rules, the power of the federal government has sided with farm workers—both those who are born here and those from other countries—who for too long have been exploited, silenced, displaced or harmed by the H-2A program.”

“These rules announced today by the U.S. Department of Labor are a long time in coming,” said UFW Foundation Chief Executive Officer Erica Lomeli Corcoran. “We have long called for systemic reforms to the H-2A program. These regulations address fundamental injustices and will help to prevent persistent abuses within the program. This is an encouraging step in addressing vital issues within our agricultural labor system. We hope to continue working with the administration to bring about further changes.”