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Yuma Co. Farmworker Advocate: Changes To Guest Worker Program Would Be Felt Here

KAWC File Photo

Farmworker advocates in Yuma County say a U.S. Department of Labor proposal would likely hurt guest migrant workers here. 

Agricultural migrant workers get a seasonal visa called H-2-A. The Department of Labor is proposing allowing employers to pay them less, cover less of their transportation costs and have worker housing areas inspected less often.

Emma Torres is the Executive Director of Campesinos Sin Fronteras, which serves farmworkers in Yuma County from its offices in Somerton and San Luis.

Torres said the proposed changes would hurt already vulnerable farmworkers who have little to no economic protections.

“That also affects our local farmworkers, the ones that are legal residents or citizens," Torres said. "If the wages are lower in farm labor, it’s going to affect everybody, not just the guest workers.” 

The U.S Department of Labor was scheduled to receive public input until Tuesday on the new rules.

Victor is originally from West Sacramento, California and has lived in Arizona for more than five years. He began his print journalism career in 2004 following his graduation from Georgetown University in Washington D.C. Victor has been a reporter for the following daily newspapers: The Monterey County Herald, The Salinas Californian and the Reno Gazette-Journal, where he covered stories including agriculture, education and Latino community news. Victor has also served as a local editor for Patch, a national news organization with hyperlocal websites, in Carmichael, California in the Sacramento area. He also served as the editor for The New Vision, the newspaper for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson, which includes Yuma and La Paz counties. Victor lives in Somerton. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends and following most sports.
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