Letter to the editor: Farm workers & citizenship | TribLIVE.com
TribLive Logo
| Back | Text Size:

The article “Pennsylvania congressman aims to expand immigrant worker program to dairy farms” (March 19, TribLIVE), which describes the bill to extend H-2A agricultural guest-worker visas to year-round jobs on dairy farms, does not discuss the downsides of the proposal nor a reasonable alternative.

The H-2A temporary foreign agricultural worker program is premised on the idea that seasonal jobs may be especially difficult to fill because many workers prefer year-round jobs and the higher incomes they may yield. Dairy farm owners with year-round jobs should attract and retain workers like everyone else is expected to do: offer decent wages, hours and working conditions.

As to immigration policy, currently many dairy farm workers are undocumented immigrants; some have been in the United States contributing to the agricultural sector for many years. They should be offered the opportunity for immigration status — a “green card” — and a path to U.S. citizenship.

If there is an actual shortage of labor for year-round dairy jobs, then foreign citizens should be offered the opportunity for a true immigration status, keeping their families together and striving to achieve the American dream. The H-2A visa program is inherently abusive and antidemocratic. There is no valid justification for forcing dairy farm workers into a temporary work visa program and denying them the economic and democratic freedoms that this nation of immigrants cherishes.

Bruce Goldstein

Washington, D.C.

The writer is president of Farmworker Justice (www.farmworkerjustice.org).

Copyright ©2019— Trib Total Media, LLC (TribLIVE.com)