Changing Minds About Immigration: UFW's "Take Our Jobs" Campaign

Opponents to any comprehensive immigration reform often argue that illegal immigrants are taking jobs away from Americans. The United Farm Workers of America are putting that assumption to the test with their "Take Our Jobs" campaign. Any American who would like a job in agriculture can enter their contact information online, and the UFW will help place them. The online submission section, called "I want to be a farm worker", includes the following note:

"Job may include using hand tools such as knives, hoes, shovels, etc. Duties may include tilling the soil, transplanting, weeding, thinning, picking, cutting, sorting & packing of harvested produce. May set up & operate irrigation equip. Work is performed outside in all weather conditions (Summertime 90+ degree weather) & is physically demanding requiring workers to bend, stoop, lift & carry up to 50 lbs on a regular basis."

Last week the president of the UFW was a guest on Comedy Central's Colbert Report to discuss the work of farm workers, and the UFW's new campaign. He told Steven Colbert that in response to the campaign, a total of THREE American workers had starting working. Americans simply do not want many of the jobs that are currently filled by undocumented immigrants.

The UFW campaign highlights the reality that labor performed by undocumented immigrants is vital to our food industry, and also highlights the need for immigration reform. AgJobs, the Agricultural, Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Security Act sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein, and re-introduced in Congress last year, would provide some of the immigration reform needed in this area. AgJobs would provide temporary legal immigration status for experienced farm workers already in the U.S., who committed to continue in farm work for the next five years. These farm workers would need to pay a fine, and undergo background checks. Unless more than three Americans start turning to agricultural work, we need AgJobs.

Immigration Reform / by Michelle Gee