Obama Announces Plan to Shield Undocumented Immigrants from Deportation
250,000 to 450,000 Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers Likely Affected.
November 21, 2014 Washington, D.C. — The Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP) applauds President Barack Obama for providing administrative relief from deportation for up to five million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. It will also allow these individuals the chance to obtain work authorization. AFOP welcomes this important action by the president, and calls upon Congress to pass legislation without delay that fixes our nation’s broken immigration system.
“The Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs’ mission is to improve the quality of life for migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their families through advocacy. That means seeking to secure for farmworkers the same rights that the rest of the American people enjoy, and a just and equitable immigration policy,” states Daniel Sheehan, AFOP Executive Director.
The Department of Labor’s National Agricultural Workers Survey consistently finds that at least 50 percent of America’s migrant and seasonal farmworkers are undocumented. The National Farmworker Alliance, a coalition of 23 national, regional, and state-based farmworker unions, service groups, and advocacy organizations, estimates there are 2.5 million farmworkers. That translates to at least 1.25 million farmworkers who are living in the shadows hoping for relief. The presence of so many undocumented farmworkers in the labor force makes them vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, depressing the wages, benefits, and working conditions for all farmworkers.
Immigrants lacking work authorization perform jobs that few others are willing to do. Their lack of immigration status, despite paying into our tax base and social services, deprives them of benefits and services available to others. This disparity prevents them from accessing their civil and labor rights, or to bargain for higher wages with benefits.
“AFOP is pleased that this administrative action will allow some of these workers to come out of the shadows and seek work authorization without fear of deportation,” said Sheehan. “Farmworkers make important contributions to our communities and our economy, and should be protected from deportation and, hopefully someday soon, be afforded an earned path to citizenship.”
The White House estimates this executive action will affect approximately 250,000 migrant and seasonal farmworkers who plant, tend, and harvest crops that feed families across the United States and beyond, although that number could rise to 450,000.
The Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs’ (AFOP) mission is to improve the quality of life for migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their families by providing advocacy for the member organizations that serve them. That means securing the same rights and benefits for farmworkers that the rest of the American people enjoy. For additional comment or an interview with an AFOP expert, please contact Robert Crumley at (202) 828-6006 x140 or [email protected].