AgJOBS Update and Action Alert for August 2007

from Farmworker Justice

 

Win AgJOBS in the 110th Congress

August 3, 2007

 

Dear Friends,

 

The United Farm Workers and a coalition of organizations are organizing events around the country during August to persuade the United States Congress to pass the AgJOBS farmworker immigration legislation in September.  As the front page story in the New York Times today points out, AgJOBS is a high priority for key members of Congress in both major political parties.  More importantly, the nation needs AgJOBS.

 

During the August recess of Congress, which begins this weekend, please contact your Senators and Representatives.  Live visits to their offices are best; call for an appointment.  Faxes, letters and phone calls are great. E-mails are ok, but not as effective.  Contact information for your legislators is available online at www.senate.gov and www.house.gov.  

 

After you take action, please ask your parents, grandparents, kids, spouses, friends, bicycling partners, yoga classmates, personal trainers, congregation members, and psychotherapists to do so as well. 

 

Thank you very much for your tireless efforts, and the tired efforts, too.  We can win this if we continue to work hard on behalf of farmworkers.  

 

The suggested talking points are below; feel free to put them on your stationery and fax it.  Please let us know about your efforts and responses.

 

Bruce Goldstein

Executive Director

Farmworker Justice

1126 16th Street, N.W., Suite 270

Washington, D.C. 20036

(202) 293-5420

Support our work online at www.farmworkerjustice.org

 

Talking Points on AgJOBS Farmworker Immigration Legislation of 2007

 

  • We ask you to be a Congressional leader in the effort during September to pass “AgJOBS,” the Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Security Act, S. 340, H.R. 371.   

 

  • AgJOBS is critically important because it would provide America with a stable farm labor force and help ensure that farmworkers are treated fairlyAmerica’s farmworkers, farmers, and consumers of fruits, vegetables and other vital agricultural products need AgJOBS. 

 

  •  AgJOBS is a unique agreement between farmworker organizations and agricultural employers and Members of Congress from both parties.  It has the support of a broad range of organizations, including Latino community leaders, civil rights organizations, religious groups, and hundreds of agricultural employer organizations.

 

  • The status quo is untenable.  It’s bad for farmworkers, bad for farmers and bad for the nation.  Over 50% of farmworkers are undocumented.  Farmers need a stable supply of workers.  We depend on the farm labor force for the food on our table.  Farmworkers need to be treated fairly.    

 

  • AgJOBS is a responsible solution.  It is a compromise that was carefully negotiated after years of intense conflict.  All sides have made painful concessions.

 

  • The opponents of AgJOBS have no solutions.  Doing nothing is unacceptable.  Congress has repeatedly defeated other proposals for harsh guestworker programs that would slash farmworkers’ wage rates, reduce government oversight and remove other labor protections. 

 

  • AgJOBS has two parts: (1) an earned legalization program for undocumented farmworkers and (2) changes to the H-2A agricultural guestworker program.  First, AgJOBS would offer currently undocumented farmworkers the chance to come out of the shadows and earn temporary legal status by meeting a past-work requirement in American agriculture.  Farmworkers then could earn permanent immigration status by meeting a stringent future- work requirement of three to five additional years in U.S. agriculture.  Second, to regulate migration in the future, AgJOBS would revise the H-2A agricultural guestworker program in a balanced manner due to concessions made by all sides.  Under that program, employers may hire foreign workers on temporary work visas for seasonal employment.

 

  • AgJOBS offers an effective and humane solution.  Please support AgJOBS and pass it in September.