Rational and just immigration policies are central to a healthy and functioning U.S. food system. Unfortunately, the new administration seems determined to push us in the opposite direction.
In the midst of a barrage of hurried and unorthodox executive orders in the first weeks of the new administration, two orders passed beneath the President’s pen concerning immigration. Both are bad for farmworkers, the food system and our country.
Farmworkers deserve better
Executive Order 13767, signed on January 25, calls for construction of a wall along the southern border between the U.S. and Mexico. It also includes provisions for increased detention, deportation and prosecution of undocumented immigrants.
Farmworkers represent the backbone and marrow of our agricultural economy, and the vast majority are immigrants. For years, PAN has worked with and for farmworker communities for national rules that afford them the on-the-job protections — and the respect and dignity — they deserve.
Widespread deportations and immigration cuts would have detrimental impacts across the food economy — farmers and ranchers depend on the immigrant workforce. Our partners at Farmworker Justice released a powerful critique following the announcement:
President Trump’s harsh rhetoric and actions regarding immigrants are instilling fear in many farmworkers and their families. Most farmworkers have held these low-paid, difficult jobs for many years. Many have children. They help agricultural business owners prosper.”
Equity & solidarity
Trump followed “the wall” order with the signing of Executive Order 13769, suspending the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and restricting entry of travelers from seven majority Muslim countries. PAN joins the myriad organizations and institutions across the political spectrum who are denouncing this deeply controversial action, which is currently under judicial review.
Here’s Diana Tellefson, National Vice President of United Farm Workers on the order:
Seeking refuge in the U.S is most often the last resort for those who face genuine risk of persecution and can’t return to their countries from which they fled. This ban not only turns America’s back on the world’s most oppressed people, it also undermines our nation’s founding principles.”
Equity and solidarity are two of the driving values underpinning our work at PAN. We commit to standing up for equity and against oppression within the food system and beyond.
Moving forward we will continue to stand alongside frontline communities and our partners that represent them, to ensure not only that immigration reform brings justice to farmworker communities, but that together we are creating safe, healthy and vibrant communities for all — refugees included.