“We are a critical workforce”: Immokalee farmworkers decry Trump’s proposed wage cuts

Democracy Now!

Apr 14, 2020

As the coronavirus sweeps through the United States, the Trump administration has proposed implementing lower wage rates for farmworkers in the U.S. under the seasonal H-2A visa as a way to provide relief to the agricultural industry. Of the country’s 2.5 million farmworkers that were recently deemed “essential” by the Trump administration, approximately 10% fall into this category. Gerardo Reyes Chávez, a farmworker leader with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, says this is adding an additional layer of disruption to an already burdened workforce. The work done by farm workers, including seasonal laborers under the H-2A visa, “is so key to be able to keep everything else functioning,” says Reyes Chávez. He adds, regardless of visa status, if workers are deemed “essential,” then it is crucial that they not be treated as expendable. “We are an essential workforce [and] everyone needs to be treated in the same way.”



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