Last week, members of the National Farm Worker Ministry’s staff, board, and Youth and Young Adult Network accompanied over 100 farm workers in Washington, DC as they made their case for immigration reform through the halls of the House and the Senate. Hard working in the fields and hard working in the city – from dawn to dusk, farm workers shared their stories and the urgent need for reform.
This week, we heartily welcome the introduction of the new Senate bill for immigration reform, “The Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013”. We particularly applaud the agricultural provisions of the bill which provide undocumented farm workers, whose labor we benefit from daily, the opportunity to swiftly obtain legal immigration status for themselves and their families. The bill also includes new protections for future agricultural guest workers. The agricultural component was negotiated by the United Farm Workers and agricultural industry representatives.
We recognize that the Senate bill is a compromise that does not fully meet our hopes for a society that genuinely follows the biblical mandate to “welcome the stranger” or “to love our neighbors as ourselves”. But having witnessed the fear and isolation experienced by undocumented farm workers, we know that this bill will make a huge difference in their lives and the lives of their families. It has been a long time coming.
We look forward now to working with our farm worker partners for swift passage of legislation that enables farm workers to come out of the shadows and to participate freely in their work, family, and community life.
NFWM will continue to update you and provide opportunities for action as work progresses on the Senate bill, and a future bill in the House.
Si Se Puede!
National Farm Worker Ministry
- Farm Worker Justice’s Preliminary Summary of Farmworker Provisions of the Senate Immigration Bill (.pdf)
- California farmworkers may win fast track to legal residency, by Peter Hecht
- Salinas Valley farmworkers, growers hail Senate bill, by D. L. Taylor and Valentin Mendoza