We are asking organizations supportive of farmworkers to *please* sign on to the letter below
in support of the AgJOBS immigration reform bill. As you may recall, this bill would grant nearly
100,000 undocumented farmworkers in Florida temporary immigration status and the opportunity
to "earn" legalization over the next few years. If enacted, the law would provide a stable workforce
to the agricultural industry and allow undocumented farmworkers in the U.S. the ability to come out
of the shadows and participate fully in society.
TO SIGN ON: Please contact Ms. Lorna N. Baez at the Farmworker Justice Fund,
at email@example.com or 202-783-2628 ext. 211, or fax to 202-783-2561.
Name of Organization:
Address, City State:
Telephone Number: Email Address:
Your website address if applicable:
The sign on deadline is next Friday, Nov. 7 at 4 p.m.. Please sign on - and ask other organizations to sign on - today.
Tania Galloni, Attorney
Migrant Farmworker Justice Project
Florida Legal Services
508 Lucerne Avenue
Lake Worth, FL 33460
tel (561) 582-3921
fax (561) 582-4884
>From the Farmworker Justice Fund, Inc. 10-29-2003
Re: Sign-on Letter to Congress: Deadline for sign ons Friday, Nov. 7
Dear Farmworker Supporters:
We would like organizations all over the country to sign onto a letter that will be sent to every member of Congress
asking for their support of the farmworker immigration legislation, which is formally known a the
Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits, and Security Act of 2003, or "AgJOBS." It's bill numbers are S.1645
(Sen. Craig/Sen. Kennedy) and H.R. 3142 (Rep. Cannon/Rep. Berman). We would like the Senate
to pass this legislation in November; there are presently 38 cosponsors of this bipartisan legislative compromise
that has the support of major farmworker and agricultural employer groups.
The letter is below. It was drafted by the Farmworker Justice Fund, Inc.
(www.fwjustice.org) and the United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO (www.ufw.org). Additional information
about the legislation is available on both websites (look for "legislative updates" on our website and look
for "legalization" on UFW's website).
Please sign on and please help us get others to sign on.
Our deadline for sign-ons is Friday, November 7, 2003 at 4 pm EDT. We apologize for the short deadline.
But this is a real opportunity. Time is of the essence.
TO SIGN ON: Please contact Ms. Lorna N. Baez at the Farmworker Justice Fund, at firstname.lastname@example.org or
202-783-2628 ext. 211, or fax to 202-783-2561. Please provide: Contact Name: Name of Organization: Address, City State:
Telephone Number: Email Address:
Your website address if applicable:
Thanks. We can do this with your help!!
Farmworker Justice Fund, Inc.
1010 Vermont Ave., NW, Ste. 915
Washington, D.C. 20005
202-783-2628 fax: 783-2561
Re: Farmworker Immigration Legislation - AgJOBS -- H.R. 3142, S. 1645
Dear Member of Congress,
The undersigned organizations urge you to support strongly the Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits, and Security Act of 2003,
also known as AgJOBS, S.1645 (Craig and Kennedy) and H.R. 3142 (Berman and Cannon). The United Farm Workers,
Sen. Edward Kennedy, Rep. Howard Berman and other farmworker supporters have negotiated a compromise
with major agribusiness employers, Sen. Larry Craig, Rep. Chris Cannon and others who have been supportive
of the legislative demands of agricultural employers. This bipartisan legislation also has the support of major organizations
like the AFL-CIO and the National Council of La Raza, as well as those listed below. It deserves your strong support.
If enacted, the legislation would provide agricultural employers with a stable, legal labor supply by offering
many agricultural workers who lack authorized immigration status the chance to become legal immigrants.
The majority of farmworkers now are undocumented. To become part of this earned adjustment program,
the workers would have to demonstrate that they have been working in the U.S. in agriculture during the past eighteen months
and meet other immigration-law and homeland-security requirements. Upon becoming temporary residents,
they would be required to work at least 360 days over a 3 to 6 year period. in agriculture in the U.S. to gain
permanent immigration status. When not working in agriculture, these workers would be free to work
in any other industry or occupation. Additionally, there would be protections against employer exploitation
of the workers' need to fulfill the agricultural work requirement.
The strict requirements in this carefully-negotiated compromise are workable and reasonable. Many undocumented farmworkers
will have the chance to come out from the shadows and participate in our society as immigrants, seek better wages
and working conditions from their employers, request government labor law enforcement, and build a future for themselves
and their family members. Our government also will know who resides within our borders and who works in an industry
that has become known for employing undocumented workers.
This legislation does not address all of the challenges facing farmworkers. Whether documented or undocumented,
they continue to work in a dangerous, low-paying job that is excluded from many important labor-law protections.
But this legislation is a crucial step to take.
The bill also contains a compromise on revisions to the H-2A agricultural guestworker program after years of Congressional battles.
The detailed legislation would convert the H-2A program from a "labor certification" program to a "labor attestation" program
with less paperwork for employers, modeled after the H-1B program. Important safeguards for labor will continue.
For example, H-2A program employers will continue to be obligated to hire qualified U.S. workers (immigrants and citizens)
who apply during the first half of the season, and will be required to pay costs of transportation for migrating workers.
Under the H-2A program, the "adverse effect wage rates," which are issued state by state, will be frozen for three years
at the 2002 levels while a special commission and the U.S. General Accounting Office study H-2A wage rates
and make recommendations to Congress. Should Congress fail to enact a new wage rate formula for the H-2A program,
the "adverse effect wage rate" would continue to be increased by any cost of living increase capped at 4% per year.
Critically important, for the first time, the H-2A guestworkers will have the right under federal law to enforce their
H-2A employment contracts and to do so in federal court.
Difficult choices had to be made in this compromise. To take no action would condemn hundreds of thousands of farmworkers,
who work in the third most dangerous occupation in the nation, to a fundamentally unfair economic and legal status.
This carefully negotiated compromise followed hundreds of hours of negotiations and eight years of confrontations in Congress.
It should be adopted as a package, without amendments. Please support AgJOBS.
Signers: National, regional and local organizations