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UFW official testifies before Congress urging lawmakers to support immigration reform, protections for farm workers

UFW official testifies before Congress urging lawmakers to support immigration reform, protections for farm workers

 Washington, DC − Giev Kashkooli, a national vice president of the United Farm Workers of America, is among those testifying today before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security during a hearing entitled "Agricultural Labor: From H-2A to a Workable Agricultural Guestworker Program."

The UFW is urging congress to support a comprehensive immigration reform that includes a roadmap to citizenship for the approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants. The new process, the UFW petitions, must include strong labor protections as part of any future flow program. Also testifying will be Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, Chalmers Carr, president and CEO of Titan Farms and Michael J. Brown, president of the National Chicken Council.

"The life of a farm worker in 2013 is not an easy one," says Kashkooli in a written testimony submitted in advance to the congressional hearing. "Most farm workers earn very low wages. Housing in farm worker communities is often poor and overcrowded. Federal and state laws exclude farm workers from many labor protections other workers enjoy, such as the right to join a union without being fired for it, overtime pay, many of the OSHA safety standards, and even workers’ compensation in some states."
"We ask this subcommittee to support a new, comprehensive immigration process that grants current farm workers and their family members a reasonable and prompt opportunity to earn legal immigration status and citizenship, and ensures that future workers are brought here in a manner that elevates farm work," he adds.

There are approximately two million women, men, and children who labor on our nation’s farms and ranches across America harvesting our fruits and vegetables and caring for our livestock.  At least 600,000 of these Americans are US Citizens or permanent legal residents.

For a full version of the testimony, please go to: http://action.ufw.org/22613hearing

Kashkooli will be available for interviews after the congressional hearing. Please, contact UFW Communications Director Maria Machuca to schedule an interview: 661-889-2758 or email at media@ufwpress.com