The Agricultural Justice Project and our partners submit this open letter to US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack regarding the newly launched Farm Labor Stabilization and Protection Pilot Program.
Dear Secretary Vilsack:
As farmers, farmworkers, and their advocates, we write to express our indignation that the USDA is committing $65 million of public money to pay farm employers, including farm labor contractors, to raise wages, improve housing, or make other adjustments for H-2A workers before making any significant changes in the working conditions of the millions of farmworkers already in this country. The Farm Labor Stabilization and Protection Pilot Program (FLSP) offers to pay employers for complying with the law instead of punishing them for violating it.
The Biden administration has pledged to increase the “share of the food dollar [that] goes to those growing, harvesting, and preparing our food.” Improving the situation of domestic farmworkers would seem like the fair and logical way to start.
We call upon USDA to cancel the FLSP and redirect the $65 million to a campaign to rebuild the domestic farm labor force.
Read and share a press release for the Open Letter on Google Docs.
For more information:
- Operation Blooming Onion and the Long Sordid History of the H-2A Program (Cindy Hahamovitch, The Natural Farmer, Summer 2023)
- Immigration Reform, H-2A, and Justice for Farmworkers (Elizabeth Henderson, The Natural Farmer, Summer 2023)
- Why Farmworker Legalization Failed (David Bacon, The Nation, January 2023)
- Human trafficking or a guest worker program? H-2A’s systemic issues result in catastrophic violations (Tina Vásquez, Prism Reports, 2023)
- No Way To Treat A Guest: Why the H-2A Agricultural Visa Program Fails US and Foreign Workers (Farmworker Justice, 2012)
- Close To Slavery: Guestworker Programs in the United States (Southern Poverty Law Center, 2013)