Kern County Meeting Focuses on Immigration Reform
Congressman David Valadeo
(R-CA) attended what could be characterized as a Town Hall meeting in
Bakersfield over the weekend. The
meeting was organized by social welfare groups, along with members of United Farm
The big topic was how to manage the issues faced by undocumented farm workers, such as how to be humane with the workers, with the fairness they deserve, while negotiations continue on the Comprehensive Immigration Reform discussion.
Brian Little, who oversees
labor relations for the California Farm Bureau Federation, attended the meeting
and noted that it was about how to get undocumented farm workers, documented.
UFW, which supports Western
Growers Association and Farm Bureau regarding the Blue Card program, would allow the vast majority of current farm workers to obtain legal status if they chose
to remain in agriculture.
After a minimum of five
years, workers who fulfill their Blue Card work requirements in U.S. agriculture would become eligible to apply for
a Green Card, providing they have no outstanding taxes or convictions.
In addition, a new agricultural guest worker program would be established to guarantee a flow of agricultural
workers in future years.
The proposed agreement specifies
wages for various agricultural work. There would be a visa cap for the first
five years for current workers participating in the Blue
Card program. The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture would have a mandate to
modify that cap as circumstances dictate in future years.
The take-home message, according to Little, was that the organizers wanted people in the Kern
County community who have an interest in helping farm workers to speak with their Congressman about Immigration Reform, during the August recess.
Labels: Blue Card Program, Brian Little, California Ag Today, David Valadeo, Farm Bureau, Immigration Reform, UFW, Wester Growers Association