Farmworker Immigration Bill Aims to Harvest Justice

A new Senate bill calls for an earned legalization program for undocumented farmworkers. The majority of California farmworkers are undocumented and the state produces much of the nation’s food supply, making the proposed legislation critically important.

“We salute California Senators Diane Feinstein and Kamala Harris for introducing the Agricultural Worker Program act of 2017. In this era of immigration fear and tight labor markets, it’s a great thing for farmworkers, growers and all of us who enjoy having food on our tables,” says Chris Paige, CEO of California Human Development.

The bill offers comprehensive immigration reform while addressing the unique and urgent needs of agricultural communities. Americans depend on the farm labor force for the production of abundant, safe, healthy and affordable food. The legislation would allow certain farmworkers who meet work requirements, national security clearance and other obligations to earn temporary permission to work in agriculture for three to five years and the opportunity to earn immigration status with a path to citizenship.

“There’s a real sense of insecurity right now among farmworkers and agricultural producers,” says Paige. “It’s critically important to insure a safe, secure, stable workforce for our nation’s food supply. It’s equally important to be fair and just in our treatment of millions of human beings who play an essential role in our communities. This legislation offers both.”

In addition to providing a meaningful, long-term solution for agricultural employers through the earned legalization program, the bill would provide protections for farmworkers, enabling them to live and work without fear and to seek improvements to their working and living conditions.

Cesar Chavez’s Granddaughter to Keynote 50th Anniversary

Julie Chavez Rodriguez

Social justice for northern California’s poorest residents will take center stage in Napa on June 2nd as Cesar Chavez’s granddaughter keynotes The Big 50 Fiesta! The event, hosted by California Human Development (CHD), celebrates the anti-poverty agency’s 50th Anniversary and will feature a talk by Julie Chavez Rodriguez—state director to Senator Kamala Harris, former senior policy advisor to President Barack Obama and granddaughter of labor icon Cesar Chavez.

“We can’t wait to welcome Julie Chavez Rodriguez,” says Chris Paige, CEO of California Human Development. “As Cesar Chavez’s granddaughter, Julie has insight into CHD’s history and mission. But more important is the work she’s doing now, with Senator Harris and formerly with President Obama, which makes her uniquely positioned to shed light on where we’re headed for the next 50 years in the War on Poverty.”

California Human Development is a non-profit social service agency founded in 1967 to assist northern California farmworkers, immigrants and all people of low income on the road to self-sufficiency. Its founders worked with and were inspired by Cesar Chavez , as he rallied the masses for farmworker and immigrant rights. Since its inception, CHD has assisted over 500,000 people in 31 counties—offering them a hand up to the American Dream.

“CHD started in the ‘60s with a passion for social equity. Now flash forward 50 years and we see video of ICE agents at work, hear rhetoric about the ‘dangers’ of people who look and believe differently, face budget cuts where the poorest among us suffer…and we know there is still work to be done—perhaps now more than ever,” adds Paige.

Chavez Rodriguez is the keynote speaker for CHD’s The Big 50 Fiesta, a 50th Anniversary celebration and an opportunity for those engaged in the War on Poverty to energize together for the work to come. The event is June 2nd at Silverado Resort and Spa; the iconic Napa Valley venue is made possible in part by generous community support. Napa Valley is home to CHD’s three farm labor housing centers, which are funded by the county through a self-imposed assessment paid by local vineyard operators, as well as home to CHD day labor centers and farmworker services.

Join us for The Big 50 Fiesta…