U.S. Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-San Fernando Valley) today issued a statement regarding the announcement of a deal on farm worker policies present in the comprehensive immigration reform legislation currently progressing through the U.S. Senate.
"I am pleased that my colleagues in the Senate understand the essential need for any legislation to include a pathway to citizenship for the hundreds of thousands of men and women who are responsible for the food we place on our tables each day," said Cárdenas. "As legislation moves forward and amendments are offered, I will remain vigilant against any effort to legalize farm worker mistreatment. I will fight, until the final vote, making certain that any legislation ensures these workers, who work in some of the most difficult conditions, are treated with dignity and respect."
Cárdenas continued, "Throughout the history of this nation, certain groups of people have been used to do the dirtiest jobs, for the lowest pay, in the most dangerous conditions, until the people of this country fully understood the terrible abuse they suffered. Only then has government stepped in to prohibit abusive policies. I beg of my colleagues: let's recognize past mistakes and understand that those who labor in the name of our food are just like us. They want to work hard, to support their families and to achieve the American Dream. We must guard against efforts that encourage their exploitation."
Cárdenas maintains that he will not support any legislation that does not ensure:
- A pathway to citizenship;
- Mandated fair wages and hours;
- Adequate worker protections;
- Agriculture worker mobility; and
- A workable system that farmers and growers can use effectively.
Last week Cárdenas, the son of an agriculture worker, welcomed more than 100 workers to the U.S. Capitol, joined by more than a dozen other Congresspeople who support farm worker protection in comprehensive immigration reform.