Rompiendo el Silencio
The Justicia Ahora Project 2013
Position Statement on Immigrants’ and Farmworkers’ Rights & The Need for a Fair and Just Comprehensive Immigration Reform
FARMWORKER ASSOCIATION OF FLORIDA
April 24, 2013
The Farmworker Association of Florida commends the introduction of the U.S. Senate immigration reform bill – the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. While we laud the bipartisan efforts on the bill and recognize this milestone in the fight for immigrants’ rights, we also stand firm in the position that comprehensive immigration reform efforts must take into account and include the following:
Family unity and reunification, and a moratorium on deportation of immigrants
An end to the harassment and racial profiling of immigrants
Observance of and respect for the human rights of immigrants
A pathway to citizenship and adjustment of legal status that is not overly burdensome, that does not require a return to one’s home country, that provides protections during the citizenship process, and that protects family members as well as applicants for citizenship
Workers’ rights of the farmworker labor force and other low-wage immigrant workers, including protection under all labor rights, and fair and equal rights for domestic and foreign workers
An guestworker program in which foreign agricultural guestworkers enjoy all the rights of domestic workers, including the right to immigrate to the U.S. with their families and the right to change employers once they are in this country
Recognition of the root causes of immigration and the impact of U.S. trade policies on the lives of poor people in other countries
The Farmworker Association of Florida recognizes that even the best immigration policy in the world does not address the underlying systemic problems of the current agricultural system that keeps farmworkers in conditions of poverty and vulnerability. While immigration reform is a first step to adjust the status of workers currently in this country, dignity and justice for farmworkers is an ongoing effort that will require the work of many and the national political will to address.
Immigrant farmworkers are among the most vulnerable and exploited workers in our society. Although they endure back-breaking work in extreme weather and chronic exposure to pesticides and dangerous working conditions to put food on our tables, all for deplorable wages, they are frequently the victims of discrimination, exploitation, and maltreatment. In current times of heightened and divisive anti-immigrant sentiment, immigrant farmworkers and other immigrant low-wage earners, regardless of immigration status, often live in fear of job loss, detention and deportation, and family separation. Afraid to speak out about the injustices they experience, immigrants bear abuses in their communities and in their workplaces as the cost of being undocumented in this country. Immigrant farmworkers provide the labor that supports Florida’s agricultural industry and that keeps food prices low. These workers and their families, who contribute significantly to American society and economy, deserve to live as equals, not lesser-thans, and to pursue their dreams of a better life. For this reason, the Farmworker Association of Florida continues to persist in the fight for immigrants’ rights and for fair and just comprehensive immigration reform.
4th Woman to Woman Conference 2013
4th Annual Woman to Woman Conference a Resounding Success!
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“This was the best year ever!” That is what we heard from many of the over 45 women from the local farmworker community that attended the Fourth Annual Woman to Woman Conference that was held in Apopka on Saturday, April 13 from noon to 6pm. Thanks to the amazing partnership between the Farmworker Association and the University of Central Florida Women’s Studies Department, especially Director Maria Santana, the conference was able to offer both a lunch and a full dinner to the women and children at the conference, as well as to give gift bags filled with personal care items to each of the participants.