Nov 09, 2019  |  VIEW IN BROWSER



From the Desk of the Executive Director

Daniel Sheehan, AFOP Executive Director

After gathering testimony and evidence with respect to President Trump’s July 25 telephone call with the Ukraine president, the United States House of Representatives has voted to formally open an impeachment inquiry against the president.  While I concur with many that this is a very sad time for our nation, it is also an incredibly important time that requires potential abuses of presidential power be scrutinized.  After the House calls witnesses for public testimony, conventional wisdom holds that it will vote for impeachment before month’s end setting up a removal-from-office trial in the Senate next month.  With news breaking seemingly hourly, it really is anybody’s guess, though, if and when these events will transpire. 
A big question mark for AFOP’s member organizations is whether the impeachment inquiry and subsequent actions will affect enactment of the fiscal year 2020 National Farmworker Jobs Program appropriations.  With the current continuing resolution funding the government at fiscal year 2019 levels expiring November 21, Congress must act soon to prevent a partial shutdown of the federal government.  While no one in Washington wants a shutdown, it is not at all clear if the president will go along with either another short-term continuing resolution or legislation finalizing fiscal year 2020 levels.   Despite that uncertainly, appropriators are working up a resolution to extend current funding though either December 15 or December 31, setting a deadline to encourage cooperation and compromise.  Some lawmakers had hoped for a longer resolution, and still may get it, but the appropriators are very keen to get their work done by year’s end.  Hanging over those discussions, however, is Republican insistence on another $5 billion for a southern border wall.  Until that question is resolved, a final deal likely will not be reached.
On a happier note, as our friends at Farmworker Justice recently reported, several courts have issued injunctions stopping implementation of the administration’s new Public Charge rule.  The rule was slated to go into effect October 15, but on October 11 three injunctions went into effect across the country, followed by two more the following week.  See the National Immigration Law Center’s analysis here.
As we move into the holidays, I wish all you readers a very happy season with family and friends, and extend AFOP’s deepest and most sincere appreciations to our nation’s farmworkers who toil so hard every day in difficult conditions to provide for us all.  Thank you.
Photo: Anita Maldonado, Marco Lizarraga, and George Ortiz at WAFA awards presentation October 22, 2019

WAFA Celebrates George Ortiz with Quality of Life Award and California State Assembly Proclamation


The Western Alliance of Farmworker Advocates (WAFA) in Sacramento last month presented former California Human Development (CHD) Executive Director George Ortiz with its prestigious WAFA Quality of Life Award for his work as a lifetime advocate.  Making the presentation was current CHD Executive Director and WAFA President Anita Maldonado.  Marco Lizarraga, the executive of La Cooperativa Campesina de California, also presented to Mr. Ortiz a proclamation of the California State Assembly recognizing Mr. Ortiz for his decades of true and dedicated service to the state’s farmworkers.  Congratulations, George!

Proteus-Iowa Puts NFJP Client on the Fast Track to Success

Proteus Incorporated

Joshua had been working seasonally for a local farmer helping plant and harvest crops and caring for hogs.  While he was able to earn enough money to stay in school, he wasn’t able to keep up with all of his expenses.  Then he turned to Proteus and the National Farmworker Jobs Program.  After struggling to make ends meet during school, Josh has a career he enjoys with a starting wage of $25.  This income covers his expenses and allows him to continue working on race cars and other’s vehicles in his free time.  He even finds time to continue working on the farm when given the opportunity.  Read his story here.

Telamon Michigan State Director Inaugurates Regular “A Passion to Serve” Pod Casts

Captures History, Visions for the Future of the Farmworker Movement

“A Passion to Serve” is a podcast about migrant and seasonal farmworkers and the remarkable individuals who work in their behalf.  Host Don Kuchnicki interviews a variety of guests who are passionate about their roles serving the farmworker population.  Take a listen.  It is well worth it.
Photo: PathStone Corporation opens new career-service center in Puerto Rico.

PathStone Wins EPA Grant to Provide Training

The United States Environmental Protection Agency recently selected 26 organizations to receive $5.1 million in Environmental Workforce and Job Training Grants, helping to transform economically disadvantaged communities across the nation.

 [Read more]

California Human Development in the News

New law, citing Napa as inspiration, seeks to change status quo of farmworker housing.  Here is how CHD is helping.

 [Read more]


Florida Legislators Pushing State Bill to Protect Workers in Extreme Heat

Orlando Weekly

Study after study has found that heat stress leads to increases in occupational injury, heatstroke, and other ailments for outdoor workers.  There's already little doubt in Floridians' minds that prolonged exposure to intense heat while working is unhealthy.  "You feel that heat," said state Sen. Vic Torres (D-Orlando).  "Imagine working out there eight, 10, 12 hours in the heat."  That’s the reality for many Central Florida workers, people who contribute labor that society needs to continue to functioning, work that feeds us and makes life better for everyone.  Torres and state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Orlando) announced heat-stress day at the state capitol, in coordination with the Farmworker Association of Florida, immigrant coalition WeCount!, the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy, and South Florida Interfaith Worker Justice.  The bill, SB 513, which will be presented first in a Florida House hearing and then in a Senate hearing, would require employers to provide laborers working in the heat with water, breaks and ample shade.

 [Read more]
AFOP Health & Safety opens store, publishes blogs, and much, much more. Check it all out here.


UFW Supports Bipartisan Compromise Bill in Congress to Provide Legal Status to Immigrant Farmworkers

United Farm Workers issued the following statement after introduction of the bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019 in the U.S. House of Representatives by primary sponsors Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.):
“Bipartisan compromise legislation, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019, crafted with help from a group of Democratic and Republican lawmakers, is the result of months of difficult negotiations between Members of Congress from both parties, the United Farm Workers, UFW Foundation, Farmworker Justice and most of the nation’s major grower associations.  They have constructed a thoughtful compromise on issues that have previously prevented agricultural and other immigration reform legislation from passing Congress.  The UFW and UFW Foundation are enthusiastic about passing legislation that honors all farm workers who feed America by creating a way for undocumented farm workers to apply for legal status and a roadmap to earn citizenship in the future without compromising farm workers’ existing wages and legal protections.  Understanding that compromise is required to meaningfully improve the lives of immigrant field laborers, it is our hope this will be the first time the House of Representatives, under the leadership of either party, will approve an agricultural immigration bill.”

 [Read More]

See Farmworker Justice’s excellent analysis here.
See news coverage here.

California Law Creates Opportunities for More Farmworker Housing

Farmworker Justice

On October 7, California Governor Newsom signed AB 1783 into law.  The new law sets forth standards and resources to build new farmworker housing in rural communities.  The law has two parts.  First, it subsidizes farmers who build housing on their land.  The housing will be run by a third party and must remain affordable for 35 years.  The second part of the law prohibits the funds from being used to build dormitory housing, which is the type of housing often favored by employers to house H-2A workers.  H-2A workers can use the new housing units, but the style of housing must not emulate that of a bunkhouse.  Agricultural producers oppose the new law.  Meanwhile, worker advocates believe that more housing could help ease the housing shortage currently plaguing rural America.

2020 United States Decennial Census – NFJP Potential Outreach Opportunity!


National Monitor Advocate Juan Regalado shared the following information about how to get involved with the 2020 United States Decennial Census.  Because it is crucial the Census count all members of the farmworker community – its data affects each and every NFJP grant allocation – Mr. Regalado’s information can be found here.  Do not overlook this excellent chance to do NFJP outreach! 

 [Read more]


DOL Agricultural Employment Initiative Recovers $422,152 for Southern and Central California Workers

DOL Wage & Hour Division

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recently concluded an agricultural employment focused educational and enforcement initiative that recovered $422,152 in back wages for 443 low-wage workers across California and assessed $85,168 in civil penalties primarily against growers in Central California. 

 [Read more]

Resources to Support Work-Based Learning


Check out these work-based learning (WBL) strategies and the myriad of approaches that it can take. The "premiere" version of WBL is apprenticeships that include a rigorous program of academic instruction and paid work experience.  But WBL can also include internships, on-the-job training and mentorships.  No one size fits all.   It all depends on the interests and abilities of the individual and the needs and commitment of the employer, coupled with the access to good educational resources.
See resource packet here.

National Apprenticeship Week

National Apprenticeship Week (NAW), now in its fifth year, is a nationwide celebration that gives businesses, communities, and educators the opportunity to showcase their apprenticeship programs and apprentices while providing valuable information to career seekers. NAW 2019 will be held November 11-17, 2019. 

 [Read more]

DOL Admits Misusing Congressionally Appropriated Apprenticeship Funds on IRAP

DOL has recently admitted it wrongly diverted more than $1 million in appropriated funds to the new Trump Administration apprenticeship initiative overseen by private businesses.  A departmental review of three contracts found that $1.1 million was spent on the president’s Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program, IRAP, even though it was supposed to be spent only on the already existing DOL-supervised registered apprenticeships.
According to reporting by Bloomberg Law, the findings suggest that former Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta misled Congress — intentionally or unintentionally — when he stated on three separate occasions that money appropriated for registered apprenticeships would not be used for IRAP.  In a written statement, DOL said it "does not have any comment on prior actions of former DOL employees," but that it has taken "extensive corrective actions" to correct the problem.  
DOL's admission was particularly striking given that the regulation to create IRAP is still only in the proposal phase.  DOL officials admitted the diversion during an October 21 call to brief House and Senate labor committee staffers after House Democratic aides flagged the misspent money earlier this year.  House Democratic staffers and a DOL spokesman confirmed the record of the conversation, which Bloomberg Law also verified by reviewing an internal agency discussion document detailing results of the financial review.  Also on October 21, the Office of the DOL Inspector General said it had opened an investigation into whether the department misspent apprenticeship funds.


Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce Presses Congress for Increased Investment

AFOP is a Campaign Member

The U.S. must make critical – and increased – public investments above current spending levels to respond to challenges faced by workers and businesses today and in response to impending shifts in the near future.  If Congress met the challenge of our international peers and invested at median levels of other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, we’d invest $80 billion more annually.  Even if Congress extended that timeline and just lived up to its commitment to the American workforce made in WIOA and Perkins reauthorizations, funding these programs at levels we have in the past would be $80 billion more than current funding levels over the next decade. 

 [Read more]

The Future of Work in Black America

McKinsey & Company

Research shows that automation trends may be widening the racial wealth gap.  This article reveals possible interventions to help African-American workers prepare for the future. 

 [Read more]

Jobs for the Future Seeks to Help Rural Workers

Jobs for the Future

Advanced manufacturing and tech firms, such as the Chemours chemical plant in New Johnsonville, Tennessee, and Pillar Technologies in Jefferson, Iowa, are choosing to set up shop in rural regions because of the friendlier tax climates, affordable real estate, lower cost of living, or to be closer to supply chain providers.  Many have found that tapping into rural talent pipelines is a good alternative to outsourcing talent overseas.  As such, access to a highly trained pipeline of workers is a critical factor that companies consider.

 [Read More]

Opportunity Works for Low-Income Youth, Young Adults

Jobs for the Future and Aspen Institute

Opportunity Works is a national initiative to dramatically improve the life trajectories of low-income young people ages 16 to 24 who are not in school or working.  This population, often called “opportunity youth,” comprises a significant segment of America’s potential workforce.  Yet they are also the young men and women who face the greatest barriers to entering and advancing in the labor market.  This is especially true for African American, Latinx, and Native American populations.
Launched in 2015, Opportunity Works has demonstrated how to make a difference in the lives of young people who find themselves without a clear path forward.  In seven urban areas from Seattle to Philadelphia, anchoring community-based organizations (CBOs) worked with a large group of local partners to put in place specialized programming that would reconnect opportunity youth to education and employment success.
 [Read More]

A Design for Workforce Equity

Center for American Progress

This article outlines how rapid technological advancement, globalization, climate change, and demographic shifts fuel an incomplete narrative of needing to prepare workers for a changing world. It brings an important point that reliance on smart systems and robots is expected to only increase with the growing adoption of automation, well-intentioned observers worry that the future demand for skilled workers will vastly exceed the supply.  The leading point in the article calls for a workforce redesign and proposes building a new future-proof Workforce Equity Trust Fund (WETF) that will enshrine fundamental workforce protections into law. If the workforce system is redesigned in the right way, every individual looking for a new job, pathways to promotions, or a career change, as well as individuals in between jobs or juggling multiple jobs, will be entitled to high-quality skills training and employment services that guarantee equality of treatment in the workforce.
 [Read More]


Supreme Court to Hear DACA Arguments


The United States Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on November 12 about whether the Obama-ear Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy will continue protecting individuals who came to the U.S. as children.  AFOP joined other advocates in an amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court supporting DACA and DACA recipients.
See recent analysis here.
See opinion piece against program termination here.
See DACA, state by state.

Support for House Bill to Fund Immigrant Integration

National Skills Coalition

U.S. House of Representatives lawmakers recently introduced legislation to significantly increase federal investment in immigrant integration.  The bill, New Deal for New Americans, is a bold, ambitious proposal, already endorsed by more than 100 immigrant advocacy organizations.  One out of every six U.S. workers is an immigrant, and immigrants work at all levels of the labor market, including in key middle-skill jobs that form the backbone of our economy.  This new legislation reflects an increased congressional understanding of the important role that adult education and workforce development policy play in ensuring that immigrant workers can contribute their full talents and abilities and fill in-demand positions with American businesses.  To add your support, click here.
 [Read More]

Expanding Access to Driver’s Licenses

Center for Budget and Policy Priorities

On June 17, activists lining the galleries of the New York Legislature erupted in celebration as the “Green Light” bill passed the Senate, the culminating moment in a decades-long battle to allow individuals access to driver’s licenses regardless of their immigration status. This summer, both New York and Oregon joined a group of 12 states, and the District of Columbia, who offer driver’s licenses for undocumented individuals. These efforts to expand access to licenses represent significant wins for local advocacy groups and a move by state governments to promote a narrative that embraces local immigrant communities. 

 [Read more]


Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit Lifted 10.6 Million People out of Poverty in 2018

Center for Budget and Policy Priorities

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit together boosted the incomes of 28.1 million poor Americans in 2018, lifting 10.6 million above the poverty line and making 17.5 million others less poor, our analysis of new Census data shows. These totals include 11.9 million children, 5.5 million of whom were lifted out of poverty and another 6.4 million made less poor. The figures use the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, which — unlike the official poverty measure — accounts for taxes and non-cash benefits as well as cash income. 

 [Read more]

Determinants of Health and Well-Being for Children of Immigrants: Moving From Evidence to Action

Children’s Mental Health Network

Dr. Lisseth Rojas-Flores and Jennifer Medina Vaughn summarize ground-breaking research, funded by the Foundation for Child Development’s Young Scholars Program (YSP), which illustrates the dire situation of children of immigrants in the U.S. today.  The authors use a social determinants of health framework to illuminate how social, economic, and sociopolitical conditions directly influence a child’s overall well-being as well as their physical and mental health.  Anti-immigrant environments and policies create a climate of fear, foster adverse mental health due to trauma, and potential physical deprivation that leads to poor child development and life-long outcomes. 

 [Read more]

A New Crack in the Farm Economy

Wall Street Journal

With weather challenges, trade tension and long-term financial headwinds buffeting the ag sector, more farmers and ranchers are taking on high-interest loans beyond the usual ag lenders just to stay in business.

Traditional farm banks are offering less money and placing tighter restrictions on loans, forcing cash-strapped farmers to look elsewhere for capital. Financial services providers that are less regulated can offer a lifeline to desperate producers — but those same loans can prove treacherous for farmers that fall behind, with interest rates twice as high as those from standard farm banks.

"If you don't make a crop and you have a bad year, they'll clean your clock," said Heath Jobe, an Arkansas farmer who filed for bankruptcy after he lost a recent crop due to dry weather. Jobe said his loan payments with 9 percent interest had started piling up and his request for a new loan was rejected.

Producers have increasingly been falling behind on their loans this year, squeezing ag lenders and threatening to send the rural economy toward a full-blown meltdown after years of pressure. Farmers are expected to hold nearly $416 billion in debt this year — the most since the farm crisis in the 1980s.

The American Bankers Association and Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation released a survey of ag lenders on Monday. Among the findings: About 57 percent of farm borrowers were profitable in 2019, but 82.5 percent said their profits were declining. Dairy, livestock and grains were seen as the most troubling sectors. "The agricultural economy and farm income remained stressed in 2019 with limited signs of improvement in 2020," according to the report.

 [Read More]


Defying All Odds, Washington Nationals Win National League Pennant, MLB World Series

The Washington Nationals defeated the Houston Astros, 6-2, in a winner-take-all Game 7 to capture their first World Series title in franchise history on October 30 at Minute Maid Park.  The Nationals took the lead in the seventh inning thanks to homers from Anthony Rendon and Howie Kendrick and did not give it back.  Washington got all four of its World Series wins on the road, and the 2019 Fall Classic marked the first time the visiting team won all seven games in a series in MLB postseason history.
In their first World Series appearance in the 51-year history of the franchise (including the team's time as the Montreal Expos), the Nationals took home the crown.  The last MLB team to win the World Series in its first appearance was the 2002 Angels.  The Nationals' path to a championship was simply a miraculous October run.  After the first 50 games of the 2019 regular season, the Nats were 19-31 and in fourth place in the NL East.  They went an MLB-best 74-38 for the rest of the regular season to earn the top NL wild card spot.
The Nationals became just the second team in MLB history to win the World Series after being 12 games under .500 during the regular season.  The 1914 Braves are the only other team to achieve the feat.
The AFOP Washington Newsline (ISSN# 1056-8565) is produced by the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP), a national federation of agencies serving migrant and seasonal farmworkers. AFOP’s mission is to improve the quality of life for migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their families by providing advocacy for the member organizations that serve them.

The publication is funded by subscriptions and the members of AFOP. The Washington Newsline receives no financial support from the federal government. Staff may be reached by calling (202) 384-1754.
Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs

1120 20th Street, N.W. |  Suite 300 South
Washington, D.C. 20036

Phone: (202) 384-1754

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