Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Cesar Chavez Day -- Organize

 The author and Cesar Chavez, 1972, 

 Cesar Chavez Day 


  Cesar Chavez Day is a state holiday in California – one of eight states to recognize the  date, and one of the few holidays  in the nation  dedicated  to a labor leader.   Sacramento and dozens of cities, counties and labor federations will celebrate the life of Cesar Chavez on March 31.

On March 26, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis honored Cesar Chavez and the UFW founders by dedicating the auditorium at the Department of Labor in Chavez’s name. 

The Cesar Chavez celebrations focus on  the struggle for union rights and justice in the fields of California.  Along with Dolores Huerta, Philip Vera Cruz, and others, César created the United Farm Workers  (UFW) the first successful union of farm workers in  U.S. history.  There had been more than ten prior attempts to build a farm workers union.

            Each of the prior attempts to organize farm worker unions were destroyed by racism and corporate power. Chávez chose to build a union that incorporated the strategies of social movements and community organizing  and allied itself  with the churches, students,  and organized labor.  The successful creation of the UFW changed the nature of labor organizing  in the Southwest  and contributed significantly to the birth of Latino politics in the U.S.

            Today, under the leadership of UFW president Teresa Romero only about 8,000  farm workers enjoy benefits on the job. Wages and benefit in farm labor have again been reduced to the pre union levels.  Unionized workers   are incorporated into California's educational, health and civic communities.  The UFW has shown unions that immigrants can  and must be organized. Today the UFW is working to pass a new immigration law that would assist farm workers.    

             Chavez and the UFW are best known helping to create instrumental role in passing the  California Agricultural Labor Relations Act in 1975 under then Governor Gerry Brown  which gives workers collective bargaining rights.  The law was made necessary by the assault on the UFW of the Teamsters Union.  While workers are often able to win elections under the ALRB, they seldom can win a contract.  Growers stall and delay until the workers leave the area. 

        César Chavez, Dolores Huerta,  Philip Vera Cruz, and others deliberately created a multiracial organization, Mexican,  Mexican American, Filipino, African-American, Dominican, Puerto Rican and Arab workers, among others, have been part of the UFW.  This cross racial organizing  was necessary in order to combat the  prior divisions and exploitations of workers based upon race and language. Dividing the workers on racial and language lines always left the corporations the winners.

            In the 60's Chávez became the pre-eminent civil rights leader for the Mexican and Chicano workers, helping with local union struggles throughout the nation.  He worked tirelessly to make people aware of the struggles of farm workers for better pay and safer working conditions. It is a testament to Cesar Chavez's skills and courage that the UFW even survived. They  were opposed by major interests in corporate agriculture including the Bruce Church and Gallo Corporations as well as the leadership of the Republican Party then led by  Ronald Reagan.   Workers were  fired, beaten, threatened and even killed in pursuit of union benefits . Non union  farm workers today  continue to live on  sub-poverty wages while producing the abundant crops in the richest valley, in the richest state in the richest nation in the world.  

 In response to corporate power, Cesar developed new strategies, such as the boycott, based upon  his personal  commitment to  non-violence in the tradition of Ghandi and  Martin Luther King Jr.  César  Chavez died in his sleep on April 23, 1993 near Yuma, Arizona.

             Today Mexican, Mexican American and Puerto Rican union leadership is common  in our major cities and in several  industries and Latino union leaders increasingly play an important role in local, state, and national elections.  For myself  and others, the UFW was a school for organizing.  Hundreds of activists in labor and community organizations owe their skills to UFW training and experience.    Along with improved working conditions, salaries, and benefits for the unionized workers,  training this cadre of organizers remains a major legacy of the UFW.

            César taught us that all organizations have problems, that all organizations are imperfect. In the last decade several books have been written criticizing the Chavez legacy.

            In the midst of  several life and death struggles over power against corporate agriculture and the political power of the state, the UFW executive committee did not develop democratic union structures .  Marshall Ganz’s book, Why David Sometimes Wins: leadership, organization and strategy in the California Farmworker Movement (2009) describes these issues well. 


    Frank Bardake, in Trampling Out the Vintage (2011)    spends a great deal of time on the purges of UFW activists, organizers, and volunteers  in 1977 -1981 period.  (See the review here on Talking Union). While the purges are  at times   presented as anticommunist decisions  by Chavez,  many of the dismissals were for lack of loyalty to Chavez and his decisions as the final arbiter of all issues in the union.  Some of the “purges”  were based upon left politics, and some of the dismissals were based upon other differences, including differing views of the best direction for the union.  There were dismissals and  staff leavings for a variety of  reasons.   Some of the most significant dismissals were not about left nor right, but were about issues of both policy differences and personal loyalties. 

 Building popular organizations while messy  builds people's power and democracy. In creating the UFW Chavez organized thousands into a union  and inspired millions.    Today  children in schools  study his life- although such study is prohibited in Arizona and severely limited in Texas as “revolutionary”, or anti American.    Many curriculum packages for schools  stress his emphasis on service to others.  The service side of Cesar’s work was certainly inspiring.

            The organizing side of the UFW legacy  changed the Southwest and  organized labor.   In a 1988 campaign and fast  Cesar focused attention on the many dangerous problems of pesticides used in the fields.  Artists have captured his image in hundreds of ways.  Schools, parks, and highways have been named for him.  Establishing Cesar Chavez holiday in California and other states has increased knowledge of his contributions.

            The movement led by Cesar  created a union and reduced the oppression of farm workers.  Many people, descendents of earlier generations of farm workers, learned to take a stand for justice.  We learned to not accept poor jobs, poor pay,  unsafe working conditions as natural or inevitable.  Rather, these are social creations which can be changed through organizing for economic and political power.  Dolores Huerta continues her important education and organizing work throughout the nation.

            Now, thousands of new immigrants harvest the crops and only a small percent are in unions.  The new generations of immigrants and migrant labor hardly know Chavez’ name nor his contributions.  Yet, in other regions  immigrants are being organized into unions such as Justice for Janitors, by activists who learned their organizing skills working with the UFW. And, Latino political leaders often made their first commitments on a UFW picket line.

            The generation that created the UFW is passing. A new generation of political activists, mostly within the Democratic Party, have emerged since the Chavez generations.  In the 2006 massive immigrant rights movements,  several new organizing practices emerged.   The organizing of these demonstrations was significantly assisted by persons trained within the UFW.  A new, significant Latino  union and political base has been created.

Chavez' legacy to popular struggles, to  Chicano/Mexicano self determination and to unions for the immigrant workers is significant.  The union taught us how to organize for power and for justice.  He is present in all of our work.  I plan to march on  March 31,2012    in memory of Cesar Chavez' contributions to building a more democratic society for working people. You can find our more about this remarkable leader at www.ufw.org  And, http://www.chavezfoundation.org/

And, http://www.farmworkermovement.org/  


Chávez chose to build a union that incorporated the strategies of social movements and community organizing.  They allied the union   with churches, students,  and organized labor.  The successful creation of the UFW changed the nature of labor organizing  in the Southwest  and contributed significantly to the growth  of Latino politics in the U.S.


The Current Situation – Strategic Racism 

 The movement led by Cesar Chavez , Dolores Huerta  and others  created a union and reduced the oppression of farm workers for a time.   Workers learned to not accept poor jobs, poor pay,  unsafe working conditions as natural or inevitable.  Then the corporations and the Right Wing forces adapted their strategies of oppression. 


The assault on the UFW and the current reconquest of power in the fields are examples of strategic racism, that is a system of racial oppression created and enforced because it benefits the over class- in this case corporate agriculture and farm owners.  The current renewed oppression is a product  of strategic racism including  a complex structure of institutions and individuals from police and sheriffs, to immigration authorities and anti immigrant activists, and elected officials and their support networks.  These groups foster and promote inter racial conflict, job competition, and anti union organizing,  as strategies  to keep wages and benefits low and to promote their continuing white supremacy in rural areas.



Duane Campbell is an Emeritus  Professor of Bilingual/Multicultural Education at Calif. State University-Sacramento and the author of Choosing Democracy; a practical guide to multicultural education.  4th. edition. (Allyn and Bacon,2010) 

He is a co chair of the Immigrants Rights Working Group of DSA. 



Saturday, March 27, 2021

Asylum-Seekers Expelled : Child Dies in River

Una niña migrante de 9 años murió tras ser hallada inconsciente por agentes fronterizos estadounidenses en el río Grande, que divide Estados Unidos de México, según se informó este jueves.

La niña fue encontrada con su madre y un hermano de 3 años, ambos también inconscientes, en una isla del lado mexicano del río por la zona de Del Río el pasado día 20, de acuerdo a un comunicado de la Patrulla Fronteriza de EEUU.

Los agentes administraron los primeros auxilios y trasladaron a los migrantes a territorio estadounidense, donde la mujer y el más pequeño de los niños recuperaron la consciencia


Asylum-Seekers Expelled by Biden Administration Say They Feel Deceived

Central American families arrived in Mexico’s Ciudad Juárez disoriented and disconsolate; many didn’t realize they were being expelled from the U.S.

Debbie Nathan

March 24 2021, 5:55 p.m.

“Bienvenidos a Miami,” the woman in the black jacket mouthed bitterly. Welcome to Miami. An official said this mockingly to her and her fellow passengers, she recalled — all Central American parents with young children — as the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement plane descended. They had departed from Brownsville, Texas, but they knew they weren’t in Miami, she said. Instead of a coastal city, they saw mountainous terrain.

Three hours later, huddled on a dirty, noisy street by a bridge, most still seemed disoriented. Some thought they were in the United States.

“What’s it called here?” a skinny man with a 4-year-old asked me.

“Ciudad Juárez,” I said. “The state of Chihuahua.” Mexico.

Around us, toddlers wailed, older children stared, and mothers quietly wept. The skinny man summed things up: They’d each been “engañado” by the U.S. government. “Deceived,” he said. His verb choice might have seemed strong, but it wasn’t just migrants who were misled. So were Americans just north of the border.

In February, just after Joe Biden took office, Border Patrol agents on the southwest border encountered about 19,000 people traveling in families with children. Of those, 41 percent were immediately returned to Mexico, including to dangerous border cities. They were returned under Title 42, a health law activated in March 2020 by the Trump administration, nominally to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The unprecedented application of Title 42 against asylum-seekers was seen by many public health experts and human rights organizations as having nothing to do with public health and everything to do with anti-Latinx racism. Immigrant rights proponents hoped that Biden would immediately retire the policy. He didn’t.

Still, most people traveling in families were initially let in. They were held for a few days by Border Patrol and then often taken to church-affiliated shelters where they could call family members already in the U.S. From there, they went to bus stations and airports, especially in far South Texas cities like McAllen and Brownsville. They got tickets and started their trips into America.

Not surprisingly, word spread in Central America — which has been wracked by hurricanes, in addition to coping with poverty and violence — that parents with children could turn themselves in to officials at the U.S. border and have a decent chance of acceptance into the asylum process. More families started coming.

In March, the Biden administration started to backpedal. Border Patrol stations were too crowded with families, the government said. Shelters in South Texas were overwhelmed. On March 8, an overflow plan was announced: Beginning that day, families seeking asylum would be flown west to El Paso, where they would be taken in by Annunciation House, a venerable Catholic organization with multiple shelters that has long offered respite to refugees. The group issued a call for El Pasoans to volunteer at “A-House,” as the shelter network is affectionately known. The city felt proud that it could do its humanitarian bit for the people doing what they have a right to do under international law: seek asylum.

Meanwhile, the new head of the Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, repeatedly announced to would-be migrants that they should stay away. “The border is closed,” he said.ead 

I got vaccinated and by late February was primed for a more normal life. For me, “normal” means once again visiting El Paso’s sister city in Mexico, Ciudad Juárez. On March 15, I walked south across the international bridge to take a stroll downtown. I went to haunts I hadn’t visited since before the pandemic: the sing-song outdoor fruit market, the cheese vendor who slices tasting samples, the plaza where two old men in zoot suits dance to a boom box blaring Pérez Prado. It was a glorious day until I walked back over the bridge. There I saw two Border Patrol agents herding dozens of young adults stumbling disconsolately toward Mexico, toddlers clunking from their chests.

Over the next few days, journalists started reporting that some families flying from Brownsville to El Paso were subsequently being expelled. But, they said, Annunciation House had also received families from the airplanes. On March 16, I went to a remote part of the airport and peered through holes in a burlap-covered fence to watch a plane land. A Reuters photographer was there, and we saw mothers and tiny children disembark before the cops shooed us away. The photographer then went to Juárez. Two hours later, he saw the same families.

Migrants arrive in El Paso, Texas, on a chartered flight from Brownsville on March 17, 2021.

Photo: Paul Ratje/Reuters

Local and national press visited Juárez, but the media continued to report that a fraction of families — no one said how many — were still being processed into the United States.

On Sunday, I learned a plane was coming in from Brownsville at noon, so two hours later, I again walked south on the bridge. That’s when I saw the weeping people who’d been told they were landing in Miami.

A group of Mexican government workers usually comes to offer the families help. They provide information about shelters, though Mexican officials have told the press that capacity has been overwhelmed and a gymnasium is being refurbished to make more space.

The woman in the black jacket, as well as others who’d been on the plane, told me they feared Mexican shelters because they might be funnels for deportation back to Central America. The streets are dangerous, the government officials warned. She said she had no idea how to get off of the street. I asked them how many families were still being processed in El Paso. They said they had no idea.

“No one,” said some of the expelled people. We didn’t see anyone chosen to stay in El Paso. We all got sent over the bridge.

Back in El Paso, I asked around. I heard from an activist that when the flights first started coming from Brownsville, some passengers were immediately removed to Juárez, while some were released to Annunciation House. But lately, I was told, every single family was immediately being expelled.

I asked the Border Patrol to confirm this, and El Paso Sector Chief Gloria Chavez responded by email. “Our priority is to process them and expel them into Mexico under Title 42,” she wrote of the families being sent to El Paso from the South Texas Rio Grande Valley region. While the agency had been working with local officials and NGOs to house families in El Paso, she explained, as of a little over a week ago, “the government of Mexico has been able to receive all family units from RGV under Title 42. Therefore, limiting the amount of individuals released to Annunciation House.”

El Paso’s respite facilities have their beds, yet asylum-seekers are being sent back to Mexico. Across the bridge, meanwhile, the good people of El Paso — the local officials and volunteers ready to welcome the families — can do nothing to help.



Thursday, March 25, 2021

I Represent El Paso. What I’m Asking For Doesn’t Include Open Borders

 I Represent El Paso. What I’m Asking For Doesn’t Include Open Borders.

Veronica Escobar. 

Until we address what motivates vulnerable people to leave their home countries, they will continue to come.


Until we address what motivates vulnerable people to leave their home countries, they will continue to come.

By Veronica Escobar

Ms. Escobar is a Democratic representative from El Paso.

March 24, 2021


Many Republicans are eager to blame President Biden for the increase in families and children arriving at the border, but the truth is that this is not a new phenomenon. Since 2014, as Central American migrants have come, generous border communities like El Paso have ensured that they are safe and cared for. Meanwhile, the rest of the country wrings its hands, politicians complain about the “crisis at the border,” businesses across the country benefit from the labor of these hard-working individuals — and nothing changes.

Americans must finally acknowledge that the real crisis is not at the border but outside it, and that until we address that crisis, this flow of vulnerable people seeking help at our doorstep will not end anytime soon.

Presidents’ words are a minor factor in migrants’ decisions to leave their homeland. Overwhelmingly and consistently, Central American refugees tell stories of fleeing violence, persecution, food insecurity and calamitous economic conditions in their countries. Back-to-back hurricanes and storms that have made it impossible to rebuild are new motivations to go north.

At most, what politicians say changes only the tone of the pitches criminal organizations make to the migrants they prey on, pitches of hope with a compassionate administration or fear with a cruel one. Policies limiting legal avenues for immigrants encourage them to undertake desperate measures to enter the United States, making it more difficult for agents and more profitable for criminal organizations.

Closing the border isn’t a real solution. It’s clear that even the most draconian efforts by the Trump administration — walls, family separation, expulsion — did not stop the flow of migrants to the southwestern border. Neither did a deadly pandemic. The Trump administration’s “remain in Mexico” policy put an unsustainable burden on Mexico, and pushing people back into that country fuels even more of the criminal activity that already plagues  it.

The Biden administration’s challenge is not just the number of children arriving at the border; it’s also that the previous administration effectively obliterated existing systems and infrastructure (flawed as they were), failed to work collaboratively on an orderly transition and created a backlog of vulnerable people on the other side of our ports of entry.

Politically, it’s never the “right time” for immigration reform. Even politicians genuinely seeking solutions have often been afraid to tackle the issue because there’s no quick and easy fix.

We came close in 2013. The Senate passed a bill with 68 votes. But John Boehner, then the speaker of the House, refused to bring the bill to the floor. Since then and especially during the Trump era, xenophobia has become useful politically to some as well as a tool of division.

The good news is that we now have an administration willing to work on the issue. It will take significant collaboration and something in very limited supply: patience.

Mr. Biden should engage the leaders of the Western Hemisphere for a summit that identifies shared responsibilities, challenges and opportunities. Engaging Northern Triangle countries, fully restoring the Central American Minors program (which allows children to apply for refugee status in their home countries) and reinstating aid (practices curtailed by former President Donald Trump) is a good start. But a multilateral approach must include our Canadian allies and address the causes of the migration coming not just from Central America but from Mexico as well. We need a shared plan with a focus on security to combat crime and persecution that includes cracking down on gangs and other criminal organizations and creates accountability for politicians and officials who turn a blind eye to criminals.

We must stop treating vulnerable children and families like a national security threat. We have to rethink our facilities and processes to include social workers, humanitarian aid workers and other civilian personnel at our processing centers to greet those who seek refuge here with humanity. And we need to reimagine the infrastructure where families and children are processed.

We also need to understand that climate change has made some of the poorest parts of our globe too difficult to inhabit. Hurricanes and drought are causing food insecurity and mass migration. We shouldn’t be surprised that populations in hard-hit areas have no choice but to leave.

Another driver is our country’s eagerness to employ migrant labor. A majority of unaccompanied children and families from Central America come to the United States to reunite with family members (parents, children, siblings or spouses) who are working here in construction, meatpacking, agriculture or the hospitality industry — paying taxes, helping their employers be profitable and supporting our economy. Many immigrants are the very essential workers we’ve depended on during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Congress must enact immigration reform. Last week the House passed H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act, as well as other measures that would create a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, those granted temporary protected status for humanitarian reasons and agricultural workers and their families. They are promising, yet they address only a small fraction of the people already living and working here. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has introduced another important piece of legislation that would take a multifaceted approach to immigration, including dealing with the root causes of it. (These bills also highlight why many of us believe we must eliminate the filibuster, which has been an instrument of gridlock for immigration reform.)

The Biden administration must work with Congress to reform the Department of Homeland Security. Border Patrol agents have been performing duties unrelated to their law enforcement functions, like data entry for processing migrants and child and family supervision. Agents should be on the ground, focused on collaborating with law enforcement partners to track criminal activity and apprehending those who pose a true threat to our security.

Those of us who represent border communities can help the administration reshape a system that has focused on border militarization, a flawed and expensive strategy that we should all agree — after decades and hundreds of billions of dollars — is a failure.

If we continue to ignore the facts and use the same failed approaches of the past, we shouldn’t be surprised when we have the same conversations every year. The Biden administration is willing to try new approaches and focus on solutions; it wants to restore order and humanity once and for all. It deserves a chance.

I’m not asking for open borders. I’m simply asking for open minds.

Veronica Escobar is a Democratic representative from Texas.




Sunday, March 21, 2021

Eyes on Ice : Truth and Accountability Forum

 The Immigrants' Rights Working Group of DSA, Afrosocialists and Socialists of Color Caucus, and MiJente invite you to participate in a virtual forum: 

Eyes On ICE: Stories of Struggle and Resistance



The Eyes on ICE: Truth and Accountability Forums are designed to expose the truth of immigration enforcement practices, spotlight the stories of those who have organized and been impacted by ICE, and share solutions for a free future. Testimonies from Forums will be submitted to impact the Biden administration’s review and lay the groundwork for dismantling the current deportation and detention systems.

Sign MiJente's Petition calling on President Biden and DHS Secretary Mayorkas to Stop Deportations Now!

Thursday, March 18, 2021

BREAKING: House votes in favor of Farm Workforce Modernization Act

 BREAKING: House votes in favor of

Farm Workforce Modernization Act 

(See also post below) 

Si Se Puede. We want you, as our good supporter, to know that the Farm Workforce Modernization Act and the Dream and Promise Act just passed the House of Representatives. This is extremely exciting news for the men, women and choldren whose labor have fed America for decades while being forced to live in the shadows.

"The House passage of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act and the Dream and Promise Act is a testament that we are on the march to victory to winning legalization for millions of undocumented people. Passing these bills in the first 100 days shows the commitment of the House to support Dreamers, TPS recipients and farm workers," said UFW President Teresa Romero.

"We hail the House passage of legislation that honors the professional farm workers who feed the entire United States and much of the world. Through their hard work, farm workers have earned the right to a stable future in the United States. The first step under the Farm Workforce Modernization Act is a work permit giving workers and their immediate family the freedom to return to join their loved ones in their home countries. Eventually, workers and their families will be able to apply for permanent residence and later for citizenship. This is the result of a tough but thoughtful compromise with bipartisan lawmakers and agricultural employers. The Senate now needs to act with seriousness to pass the Senate counterparts to the Farm Workforce Modernization Act and the Dream and Promise Act."

Farm workers are excited. Berry Worker Francisco Naranjo had this to share, "This bill means so much to me. In December 2019, I went to Washington DC to lobby for our bill when the first vote on the floor happened. I was so excited to see it pass then. Unfortunately, the Senate refused to act. We didn’t give up and we continued to fight, now it has passed the House again. It is going to the Senate where the Democrats have a small majority. I am excited that both the Farm Workforce Modernization Act and the Dream and Promise Act are in the hands of the Senate and it is so important that we get them passed."

The 2021 agricultural immigration bill was approved on a 247 to 174 vote, including 30 Republicans. It is the result of months of intense negotiations between lawmakers from both parties, the United Farm Workers, UFW Foundation, Farmworker Justice and most of the nation’s major grower associations.  To read the full news release, click here.

Earlier today, the White House issued a strongly worded statement backing the farm worker bill. Bill sponsors anticipate a bipartisan group of senators will introduce a Senate version of the measure.

We will be back in touch with you shortly regarding next steps for these vital bills and how you can help get them passed.

Si Se Puede!

Discussion of Immigration Legislation


For a discussion of the developments of the new bills.  HR 6 and HR 1603,   In Spanish go to


Farmworker bill.


the Farm Modernization Workforce Act, aims to provide a path to citizenship for farm workers who are living in the country illegally. Thirty-four Republicans supported this legislation last Congress.


Title 1 is new.
Goal is Securing the Domestic Agricultural Workforce.
 It includes,  Temporary status for up to 5 years, renewable.

         ability to bring family as dependents, 
                  must stay in U.S. for all but 90 days per year.
After renewal, ( 10 years)  can apply for permanent resident status.

Title 2. is revision of the existing H-2 A; Temporary Workers program.    
                           With new conditions.
                           Some of these conditions have existed in prior legislation however they are regularly violated.



 The bills have been proposed, And, they won the majority in the House ( Democrat controlled) in 2019. and now 2021.  They will be bi partisan.  — gaining votes beyond the narrow Democrat majority.  

They might even have the votes to beat a filibuster.


Both of these bills separate specific  groups from the larger community,  The Biden bill is actually better on this.



1) The Dream and Promise Act would provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers, young immigrants who were brought to the country as children and have remained in the country illegally. This bill also provides a path to citizenship for the immigrants living in the U.S. with Temporary Protected Status.

Seven House Republicans supported this legislation last time around.


Yes, 227   No  197


Passed the house. 3/18.  9 Republican votes.



2) The second bill, the Farm Modernization Workforce Act, aims to provide a path to citizenship for farm workers who are living in the country illegally. ( the undocumented.) 

 Thirty-four Republicans supported this legislation last Congress.

Both bills passed the House last session but weren’t taken up in the Senate. Still, despite Dems’ narrow majority, the bills as they currently stand are unlikely to get the 60 needed votes to pass in the upper chamber. (This has also fueled talk of including key immigration provisions to Dems’ next use of the reconciliation process.) 


Title 1 is new.
It is Securing the Domestic Agricultural Workforce.
 It includes,  Temporary status for up to 5 years, renewable.
                  ability to bring family as dependents, 
                  must stay in U.S. for all but 90 days per year.
After renewal, can apply for permanent resident status.

Title 2. is revision of the existing H-2 A; Temporary Workers program.    
                           With new conditions.
                           Some of these conditions have existed in prior legislation however they are regularly violated.

The United Farmworkers Union supports the bill.
A number of immigrant rights groups oppose the bill.


Vote: Yes, 247   No 132.


Both go on to the Senate where they may face a filibuster. 


Other bills in the Senate. 


U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) joined Representative Joaquin Castro (D-TX-20), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA-33) in announcing the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act , 



Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Migrants Find Sanctuary in Texas

 Migrants and refugees find safe harbor in Texas.


Immigration bills go to the House Floor

Dignity or Exploitation ?


David Bacon, 


H-2A Leads a Race to the Bottom for Farmworkers 


But the most far-reaching bill dealing with H-2A workers was introduced in Congress in 2019 by Zoe Lofgren, a 

Democrat from Silicon Valley, together with Dan Newhouse. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019 essentially ties legalization for undocumented farmworkers and guest worker programs together.161 This compromise bill would guarantee growers a labor supply at a price they want to pay, while at the same time providing a pathway to legal residence for many undocumented farmworkers. 

The House passed this bill, and it died in the Senate. Un- der a new Biden administration, the pressure from growers and Washington lobbyists will be intense to revive it as the centerpiece of its immigration agenda. Representative Raul Ruiz told the Los Angeles Times that the administration was developing a package of executive orders and Congressio- nal bills that would incorporate provisions from legislation already passed by the Democrat-controlled House of Rep- resentatives. Included was the Farm Workforce Modernization Act.162 


Since half of current workers have no legal status, an even more predictable impact of the mandatory use of E-Verify would be to make it harder for employers to find workers they can legally hire. The half of the workforce that is currently undocumented would eventually shrink as people applied for green cards, gained legal status, and found better-paying jobs elsewhere. The other half of the workforce – people who are citizens or have legal immigration status – will shrink as well over time, particularly because the average age of farmworkers has increased from 28 in 2000 to 38 today.166 

The Farm Workforce Modernization Act had several provisions to make the H-2A program more attractive. One, suspending for one year the increase in the Adverse Effect Wage Rate, was already announced by President Trump the day before the election.167 After ten years, the AEWR would be evaluated and could be abolished altogether. The net 



The bill did contain some pro-worker changes in the H-2A program. Ten thousand holders of H-2A visas per year would be able to transfer from the employer that recruited them to another employer, which is presently not allowed. H-2A workers would be covered by the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Workers Protection Act (AWPA), offering some protection from abuses. Employers could sponsor 40,000 farmworkers, including both undocumented and H-2A workers, for green cards each year. Many workers want residence status badly, but giving employers the power to petition also makes workers more vulnerable to threats and pressure. 


The Farm Workforce Modernization Act itself was overtaken by election politics, but Republicans and centrist Democrats can be expected to reintroduce its main elements, putting before the Biden administration the basic question of the direction for U.S. immigration policy. The flow of many Mexican and Central American migrants across the border will either be increasingly imprisoned in a system of cheap and disposable labor by growers, or it will be integrated into families and communities able to fight for rights, legal status, unions, and a better standard of living. 


Its in the report:  




The bill, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act passed the Democratic controlled House in 2019.

It is on the House agenda now.


The Hill.

With Susannah Luthi.

IMMIGRATION ON THE MIND: It is a big week for immigration. The House is poised to vote on two immigration bills this week, both narrower pieces of legislation while Democrats weigh how ambitious to go with President Joe Biden’s comprehensive immigration plan. All of this is unfolding amid a growing debate about how to address the surging numbers of migrant children and families being detained at the U.S.-Mexico border. 

1) The Dream and Promise Act would provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers, young immigrants who were brought to the country as children and have remained in the country illegally. This bill also provides a path to citizenship for the immigrants living in the U.S. with Temporary Protected Status. Seven House Republicans supported this legislation last time around.

2) The second bill, the Farm Modernization Workforce Act, aims to provide a path to citizenship for farm workers who are living in the country illegally. Thirty-four Republicans supported this legislation last Congress.

Both bills passed the House last session but weren’t taken up in the Senate. Still, despite Dems’ narrow majority, the bills as they currently stand are unlikely to get the 60 needed votes to pass in the upper chamber. (This has also fueled talk of including key immigration provisions to Dems’ next use of the reconciliation process.) Meanwhile, Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is talking with Republicans about a narrow bipartisan approach on Dreamers.

Please inform yourselves well.



Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Monday, March 08, 2021

Refugees Welcomed Upon Arrival


The main stream press seems focused now on declaring a “crisis at the border.”. - the arrival of a few thousand refugees and asylum seekers.

Our response should be; There is no crisis ! Why Panic? 

As a nation we can accept and accommodate these new immigrants.  Many are fleeing catastrophes created by U.S. neoliberal capitalism and imperialism. 

The response should be; provide the refugees with a safe harbor, ( As required by international conventions the U.S. has endorsed. )

Safe harbor would be safety and an opportunity for a legal hearing on the application for asylum. 

Although ICE, the Border Patrol, and the Republican political machine see and declare a crisis, we should not feed into that narrative.


Nearly one in five essential workers in America is an immigrant. We are of every race and background, in every state, keeping America fed, clean, safe, and healthy. We are doctors, nurses, child care and home care workers. We are essential to America. We are immigrant women. Because ‘We The People’ includes ALL of us. This is our home. Immigrant Women Are Home. Learn More.

Friday, March 05, 2021

Hold ICE Accountable


*  *  *

Next up: Washington! Our compas from
La Resistencia
will be hosting their #EyesOnICE forum in front of the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma this Sunday. Join in person or via livestream to hear testimonies from the people of Washington state who are exposing the harms they’ve experienced by ICE and are speaking out and organizing for change.
With La Resistencia’s EyesOnICE: People’s Tribunal, our gente are stepping into their power and speaking out. The time for justice is now -- we won’t be silenced any longer.
Sign up here: mijente.net/WAforum1