Sept 17, 2018  |  VIEW IN BROWSER


From the Desk of the Executive Director

Washington Update


Daniel Sheehan, AFOP Executive Director

Welcome to the AFOP 2018 National Conference edition of Washington Newsline.  On behalf of the AFOP staff and the conference-planners, I would like to say how thrilled we are to have you in the Nation’s Capital for this important training meeting.  You come at a time when Congress is looking increasingly toward November federal elections that will determine whether or not Republicans are able to maintain control of Congress, be forced to share power, or sent packing into the minority-status wilderness.  Conventional wisdom holds that the Democrats will win back the House, while Republicans will sustain their Senate majority.  If that prognostication comes true, the next Congress, set to sit in January, can and will make life a lot harder for the president and his team as Democrats in the House of Representatives, with full control over that body’s agenda, take a far closer and critical look at the administration’s policies and decision-making.   Enough of future gazing, though; we still have two months before the election, and, as the old saying goes, two months is an eternity in politics. 
Turning to congressional efforts to approve fiscal year 2019 appropriations, I am happy to report that House and Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee members and staff have begun negotiating a final compromise Fiscal Year 2019 Labor-HHS-Education spending bill that would fund NFJP in Program Year 2019, beginning July 1, 2019, despite the fact that the House bill has only cleared committee.  Congressional leaders hope to pass the final measure, combined with Defense Department funding, prior to the September 30 fiscal year-end.  I am working hand in glove with Representative Rosa DeLauro’s (D-Connecticut) subcommittee staff to ensure the agreement funds NFJP at the highest level possible, stressing that NFJP excels at putting hardworking individuals into good jobs employers need to fill.  I will also be talking with the Senate’s full committee minority staff director about the program’s success.  As we’ve earlier reported, the Senate has passed its version of the bill that would level fund NFJP at its current, increased level of $88 million.  The House companion bill also has NFJP at $88 million.  Congress will punt on the question of funding a border wall until after the November federal elections.

Inside AFOP

Susan Billups Rabick Retires from Proteus, Nebraska


Regional Director of Proteus, Nebraska, Susan Billups Rabick, retired from her position on June 30, 2018.  A strong leader within the organization and also within AFOP, Susan served on the Board of Directors and on numerous committees.  In its newsletter, Proteus writes that Susan was “instrumental in building positive relationships with our partners, conducted heat stress and pesticide training and promoted the National Farmworker Jobs Program to eligible participants across the state.” Congratulations on a successful career, Susan, and we thank you for your service!

Proteus, California, Releases New Video Featuring “Jobs 2000” Program

Proteus, CA, partnered with Fresno County Department of Social Services to create a new video overview of their “Jobs 2000” or “J2K” program.  J2K, according to Proteus, “aims to cultivate self-esteem, teach communication skills, and inspire team spirit-just the way successful companies do.  J2K is an intensive five-week workshop where the clients learn to embrace difficulties and learn to overcome them.”

Farmworker Publication “La Voz” Features Central Valley Opportunity Center

Voice of the Fields

“Voice of the Fields / La Voz,” a publication of La Cooperativa about farmworker-related news, featured AFOP member Central Valley Opportunity Center and its great record of providing job training to farmworkers.  “CVOC,” it says, “has effectively provided a comprehensive package of services to over a hundred thousand customers to date.”  Those services include vocational education, remedial education, English Language instruction, housing assistance, energy payment assistance, emergency supportive services, transportation, emergency food, youth employment, healthcare acquisition, childcare services and community education services.

 [Read More]

CCI’s Korene Gonzales Recognized for 30 Years of Service

Community Council of Idaho

Korene Gonzales, Employment & Training Director for the Community Council of Idaho, was recognized last month for 30 years of service to the farmworker community.  Korene’s biggest highlight and “greatest honor,” she says, “has been getting to know our program participants on a personal level and knowing that I have positively impacted their success. To me, there is nothing more rewarding than to see the difference you make in the lives of those you serve.”  Congratulations, Korene!

Proteus Newsletter Reports Several Success Stories

Proteus Participants in Indiana, Iowa, and Nebraska, are making headlines by graduating, getting good jobs, and loving what they do – all with a little help from NFJP.  Indiana case manager Jesus Rivera helped secure one participant, Antonio, a summer internship working with cars – and Antonio was eager to learn, throwing himself into the experience.  At the end of the summer, Antonio said that working in an auto body shop “was one of the best things that has happened because I got to do what I love which is working on cars. .. It was pretty great!’”
Read More in Proteus’s newsletter, here.

UMOS Releases 2017-18 Annual Report

UMOS’s annual report has been published for the current fiscal year (ending September 30).  It is filled with success stories of UMOS participants, as well as details on some of UMOS’s data-driven program performances that have helped make this past year so successful.
 [Read More]

AFOP Health & Safety

Children in the Field Campaign Contest Ends, Winners Announced

The annual Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Children Art & Essay Contest was a huge success, yet again.  155 entries were submitted across the four categories, with the 10-13-year-old art being the most competitive (99 entries).  Thanks to the generosity of our judges and partner organization East Coast Migrant Head Start, we were able to award honorable mentions this year to the top 10 in each category, in addition to prizes for the top 3 places.  First-place winners Norman Gonzales, Lizeth Caballero, Emily Camacho, and Camila Figueroa will be attending the conference to share their stories with us.  We can’t wait for you all to meet them!

Visit our website for the full names of the winners and images of the winning artwork and essays:  Here

Interview with a Bracero’s Daughter

AFOP Health & Safety Blog

This summer, we had a unique opportunity to interview Belinda Montañez*, the daughter of a bracero, about her experience growing up in the fields during another era in American immigration history:  the bracero program.  What she told us was eye-opening, even while it confirmed much of what we already knew about farmworker and farmworker children.  Click below to read our two articles so far, and then stay tuned for Part III in the series – to be published following our conference.

Part 1
Part 2

Name changed to protect the interviewee's anonymity.

OSHA conducts Safety Campaign “Safe & Sound”


USDOL’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration led a safety campaign called “Safe & Sound” during the week of August 13-19.  The campaign involved 200 organizations in the US and around the world participating in 1,800 different events, e.g. safety webinars, toolbox talks, roundtable discussions, etc.  The main goals of “Safe & Sound” were to 1) prevent workplace injuries and illnesses, 2) increase worker satisfaction, 3) improve productivity, and 4) reduce costs.
 [Read More]

Farmworker, 24, Dies after Collapsing in Field

Moultrie Observer

A farmworker died of heat stroke in Moultrie, GA, after he complained of feeling unwell and collapsed in the field.  While not clear in the official account, witnesses of the incident reported a “horrific, graphic account of how that poor kid deteriorated before their eyes in the field.”  Persons close to the matter are calling for an investigation into the young man’s death, on account of the crew not responding quickly enough to Chavez’s cries for help.
 [Read More]

National Council Funding Opportunity to Increase Youth Engagement

Children’s Mental Health Network

The National Council for Behavioral Health is accepting applications for up to $100,000 in funds for a site that will “increase youth engagement in quality, appropriate mental health supports and quality treatments.”  Among the goals listed for the program:
  • Connect young people to new types of mental health supports and research-based treatments,
  • Connect youth to one another as project leaders and advisors,
  • Connect communities with these new approaches, and
  • Connect applicants to funding (up to $100,000 per site) to support these efforts.
 [Read More]

Court Orders EPA to Ban Chlorpyrifos

Merced Sun-Star

On August 9th, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency must ban chlorpyrifos within 60 days.According to court briefings, the circuit court declared there “was no justification for the EPA’s decision in its 2017 order to maintain a tolerance for chlorpyrifos in the face of scientific evidence that its residue on food causes neurodevelopmental damage to children.”

EPA spokesman Michael Abboud released a statement after the ruling, saying they were reviewing the decision, and continued to protest the fact that medical records used in researching the effects of chlorpyrifos remain inaccessible to the EPA.

 [Read More]
Photo credit: Merrit Kennedy/NPR

West Texas Vineyards Blasted by Herbicide Drift From Nearby Cotton Fields


Farmers growing grapes for wine in Texas are reporting dicamba drift killing their plants – a common complaint across rural America that isn’t going away.  The culprits: cotton-growing neighbors who claim they have no choice if they want a harvest, and that spraying on windless days, as required by pesticide regulations, is an impossibility.
 [Read More]

Inside the United States Department of Labor

Photo Credit:  Wikimedia Commons

US Department of Labor Launches New Websites to Help Workers

The Labor Department has announced the launch of several new digital,, and  The apprenticeship tool, DOL reports, will allow job seekers to search for apprenticeships by city and state, and connect them with high-skilled, high-paying careers, while informs employees of their rights – to a fair wage, to collective bargaining, to a safe and healthy workplace, and more.
 [Read More]

Jobs Outlook


The U-6, the broadest measure of unemployment, is at a 17-year low, according to the Department of Labor.  Labor Secretary Alex Acosta announced on Twitter that it has dropped 1.8% since November 2016.Also, the youth (16-24) unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in 52 years, and labor productivity increased at a 2.9% annual rate in the second quarter of 2018 – compared to an average of 1.2% since 2007.  Furthermore, initial jobless claims dropped and remain near a 48-year low.
 [Read More]

Increasing Opportunity for All Americans


U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta joined President Donald J. Trump and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry for a roundtable discussion with the governors of Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and North Dakota about helping individuals successfully transition from incarceration into family-sustaining jobs. In June, the Department awarded $84.4 million in grants to help Americans transition from the justice system to the workforce.  AFOP’s own PathStone Corporation was one of the grant awardees.
 [Read More]

Labor Day:  The Worker’s Holiday Celebrated at DOL in a Series of Videos


This past Labor Day, the Department of Labor published a series of videos celebrating the American worker. Watch to learn just a few of the ways that USDOL is helping more Americans secure good, safe, family-sustaining jobs.
Video 1:  Dr. Walter Bumphus, American Association of Community Colleges President and CEO, shares his experience working as a member of the President's Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion, which submitted a strategy to the President to create more apprenticeships.

Video 2:  Business owner Jonathan Szucs shares how he is investing in his employees and his business.

Video 3: The opioid crisis has devastated lives, families, and communities across the nation. The International Association of Fire Fighters General President Harold Schaitberger and Director of Health and Safety Jim Brinkley share why combating the opioid crisis is critically important to firefighters.

Workforce Development

USDOL Releases New Tool for Employment Earnings

USDOL – Women’s Bureau

USDOL Women’s Bureau has developed a new tool that provides a quick and easy snapshot of various occupations, the percentage of women in that occupation to men, as well as the median earnings and how those compare between male and female workers.  Unfortunately, “farmers” is a listed occupation, while “farmworker” is not.

 [Read More]

DOL Releases Guidance on “Industry-Recognized” Apprenticeship Programs

National Skills Coalition (NSC)

The Labor Department has issued guidance on apprenticeship programs that would be “industry-recognized” as opposed to DOL- or state-agency-recognized (known more specifically as “Registered Apprenticeship”). There are several important differences between the two, including eligibility for “statutory benefits.”  However, the National Skills Coalition “supports a focus on paid, high quality work-based learning programs and the collection and dissemination of data on outcomes for participants in these programs and many components in the TEN are consistent with NSC recommendations.”
 [Read More]

Designed to Fit the Times: Flexible Design Elements for Subsidized Jobs Programs

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Federally funded jobs programs help workers’ wages and long-term prospects, in both good and bad economic times, as reported in a new report from the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities (CBPP).  According to CBPP, “when joblessness is high, subsidized employment’s primary purpose is to quickly provide work-based income support to unemployed workers to help them meet basic needs while also stimulating the economy. During good economic times, subsidized employment programs play an important income-supporting role for disadvantaged workers. But, these programs also seek to improve disadvantaged workers’ long-term employment and other social outcomes … through the creation of meaningful employment opportunities where they can gain work experience and learn transferable skills.”
 [Read the full report here]

Almost 80% of US Workers Live from Paycheck to Paycheck. Here's Why.

The Guardian

Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, writes in this op-ed for the Guardian that “America doesn’t have a jobs crisis. It has a good jobs crisis.”  Average wages - at just under $45,000/year -have not improved much over the last four decades.  Meanwhile, benefits have been vanishing, college debt growing, and the types of jobs available – contract work, part-time, etc. – are not as secure.
 [Read More]

Want Women Apprentices?  The Answer is Childcare

National Skills Coalition

To achieve more gender-parity in apprenticeship, a new report by the National Skills Coalition “Broadening the Apprenticeship Pipeline,” recommends something simple: access to affordable childcare, as well as pre-apprenticeship training.  Pre-apprenticeship programs provide a valuable on-ramp that lays the foundation for success. But once in those apprenticeships, the second key to success is supporting participants with accessible, affordable childcare.
 [Read More]

Hill Happenings

DOJ, Labor Dept to Target Employers that 'Discriminate' Against Americans by Hiring Foreign Workers

The Hill

The Departments of Justice and Labor have signed an agreement that will aim to prevent employers from “discriminating” against American workers by solely seeking out foreign labor, according to The Hill.  DOLETADeputy Assistant Secretary Rosemary Lahaskystated that this “will help protect U.S. workers from unlawful discrimination.”

The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division and DOL’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) will start sharing information on employers, refer issues to the appropriate officials at each department, and offer training to each other’s staff.

[Read More]

Congress Urged to Pass Senate, not House, Version of Farm Bill

The Hill - Opinion

In this op-ed, authors Ndivar Dutta Gupta and T.J. Sutcliffe explain how many people with disabilities do not qualify for disability assistance (e.g. SSDI) – and therefore have to scrape by on minimum wage jobs that are minimally supported by food stamps (SNAP).  If work requirements were added to SNAP, as has been proposed in the House version of the Farm Bill, this population of disabled, barely-stable working Americans would be the hardest hit.

 [Read More]

Protecting Immigrant Children from Abuse

Coalition on Human Needs

In a Senate meeting on August 16th, members of Congress questioned representatives of the US Border Patrol, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Departments of Justice and Health & Human Services, on what is being done to protect immigrant children from abuse after leaving their custody.  Heated debates ensued regarding what level of monitoring is appropriate or possible once unaccompanied minors are placed with families.  Afterwards, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released a report outlining the many ways that these agencies are failing to keep immigrant children safe.

 [Read More]

New Bill in House Would Expand Pell Grants for Short-term Programs

National Skills Coalition

Pell Grants can only be used for four-year degree programs, which doesn’t work well for Americans with kids and other responsibilities who may want to upskill to a better job via a shorter-term program.  Fortunately, a new bill in the House called the “Aim Higher Act” would extend Pell grants to short-term academic and job training courses.  So far, the bill has enjoyed broad bi-partisan support, and its prospects are fair.

 [Read More]

Farmworkers in the News

UFW’s Arturo Rodriguez Stepping Down, Replaced by First Latina & Immigrant Woman President of National Union

After 25 years, Arturo Rodriguez is stepping down as president of the United Farm Worker union as of December 20, 2018. He will be replaced by Teresa Romero, current Secretary-Treasurer and soon-to-be first Latina immigrant president of a national union in the United States.

 [Read More]
Photo credit:  Alondra de la Cruz / Politico

La Campesina – The Spanish-Language Voice of Resistance


“La Campesina,” a radio station established by Cesar Chavez in the 1980’s, was initially started to reach farmworkers in the field and inform them of their rights.  Today it has grown to a network that spans several states, from Washington to Arizona and even across the Mexican border, and the programming has changed to keep pace with the times.  Listeners tune in to be informed about local ICE raids, to get practical tips in case they experience family separation or deportation proceedings, and to tap into a reassuring sense of community during a time when the experience of being Latino in America can be scary and alienating.
 [Read More]

British Farmers Worry:  Who Will Pick the Fruit after Brexit?

Washington Post

On British farms, Eastern European workers do most of the farm work, similar to H-2A workers in the U.S.  With the end of Great Britain’s membership in the European Union, that standard will have to change, as the European workforce will no longer be able to move freely across British borders.  Their concerns echo American worries as the Trump administration continues cracking down on undocumented workers.
 [Read More]

Appeals Court Overturns Lower Court, Says Florida Citrus Company is NOT A Joint Employer with Farm Labor Contractor

Last year, a group of farmworkers won a nearly $200K settlement against a Florida citrus company for unpaid wages and breach of contract when the court affirmed that the citrus company and labor contractor were in fact joint employers.  As of this past August, that ruling has been overturned on appeal, and the Appeals Court stated that the labor contractor was indeed the sole employer according to their analysis.  At this point, according to legal experts at Saqui Law Group, the plaintiffs will have to “press their wage claims against Consolidated Citrus individually.”

 [Read More]

Orleans County Farm Sued by Workers Who Claim Unlawful Pay and Living Conditions

Democrat & Chronicle

Seven migrant workers have filed suit against a farm in Orleans County, NY, claiming they were paid insufficient wages and that their living conditions were unacceptable.  According to the Democrat & Chronicle, the plaintiffs reported that, “at one point, 17 people allegedly were assigned to a house with just two rooms and one toilet.” Also, they claim being paid a lower wage than H-2A workers, which is against the law.  This lawsuit could become a class-action, as there are 75 other farmworkers whom these same conditions also impacted. 
 [Read More]

Missouri Farmworkers Kept in Inhumane Conditions

Associated Press

In another part of the country, more farmworker abuse: 27 Missouri H-2A farmworkers were being housed in a former jail with very few windows, no drinking water, and an “unusable kitchen”, while 80 others were living in two houses with not enough beds, broken plumbing, and a refrigerator that “barely functioned.”  They were not being paid, and many had been running up charges for basic food supplies.  One of the checks that the group did receive, they were forced to cash and pay back to management.  The Florida-based employer has been issued an injunction by the Department of Labor and has been cooperating with authorities.
 [Read More]

The Jobs No One Wants


“Farmwork” was listed on LinkedIn as one of the most in-demand jobs that employers find difficult to recruit for.  Included on the list are other industries, like construction, that are considered too mentally and/or physically demanding by the younger generations, resulting in jobs going unfilled.
 [Read More]


Photo Credit: AFOP

Revival and Opportunity:  Immigrants in Rural America

Center for American Progress

This report focuses on several areas in the United States and their impending decline – before an injection of population growth via immigration.  While all change can be hard for communities to process, CAP outlines several positive facets of the phenomenon:
  • Immigrants provide an indispensable workforce to support communities whose local economies rely on industries such as meat processing plants, dairy farms, or fruits and vegetables farms.
  • Immigrants and their families also help local economies in rural communities expand—particularly by opening grocery stores and other businesses that keep their main streets alive and thriving.
  • By helping to stave off population decline, a growing immigrant population in rural areas also helps keep schools open and, in some cases, even grows school enrollment.
 [Read More]

Fearing Deportation, Immigrant Parents Are Opting Out of Health Benefits for Kids

Children’s Mental Health Network

Children’s Mental Health Network reports that many parents are choosing to decline public benefits for which their children are eligible, because some application requirements have changed in a way that makes them fear being investigated and getting deported.  CMHN says that “approximately 10 million citizen children in the U.S. have at least one non-citizen parent.”  According to undocumented parents opting out of Medicaid for their kids, their fallback health plan is the emergency room.

 [Read More]

Department of Labor Being Sued for Improper Handling of H-2A Visas

Public Citizen

In a suit against the US Department of Labor, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization, Public Citizen, is pressing for the agency to follow its own regulations when issuing H-2A visas.  According to Public Citizen, DOL does not consider the prevailing wage if a state agency has not issued one for that area, “even though the agency itself has made prevailing wage determinations, published on its own website.”  This has resulted in many visas issued for jobs at wages lower than the area prevailing wage.
 [Read More]

How Many Migrant Children are Still Separated from Their Families?

Washington Post

Earlier this year, 2,000 children were separated from their parent or loved one at the border, in an attempt by the Trump administration to deter illegal border crossings – even those in which the immigrants were seeking asylum from violence or other threats in their home country.  Since the policy was discontinued in July and reunifications ordered by Judge Dana Sabraw, children have been slowly released and reunited with their parents, though hundreds remain in federal custody, including several dozen under the age of 5.  The Washington Post published a tracker on August 8th and has been keeping it updated.  To-date, 81% of children have been reunited.
 [Read More]

Why Crackdown Fears May Keep Legal Immigrants from Food Stamps

Pew Charitable Trusts

In research conducted by the Pew Charitable trusts, participation in SNAP and other public benefits was found to have dropped off in cities where local law enforcement helped deport undocumented immigrants, whereas SNAP participation in “sanctuary cities” stayed the same.  Declines were biggest in “mixed-status” households, where at least one person in the family did not have papers.  Jessica Vaughan, director of policy for the Center for Immigration Studies, stated that no one will be deported for receiving food stamps.  In fact, all immigrants must have lived legally in the U.S for 5 years to be eligible.  Still, the fear persists and has had disastrous effects–in that many adults and children are going hungry in the United States.
 [Read More]

Trump’s Public-Charge Rule Would Threaten Disabled Immigrants’ Health and Safety

Center for American Progress

The Trump Administration is revising the Public-Charge rule to cover a much broader list of public benefits such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP); Medicaid; Medicare Part D; and the Affordable Care Act’s premium tax credit for people purchasing health insurance. According to a recent Center for American Progress estimate, President Trump’s proposed test is so restrictive that about one-third of the U.S. population—more than 100 million people—would fail were they required to take it today.
 [Read More]
Photo Credit:  Pixabay

DACA’s Legal Battles Continue

National Immigration Law Center

With all the back-and-forth of law suits, injunctions, stays, etc. that are canceling each other out from either side, it can get hard to sort out the current status of DACA.  According to the National Immigration Law Center, the Aug 31 district court case in southern Texas could affect Dreamers’ ability to request a renewal of their DACA application – the kinks of which are still being sorted out.  The bottom line, at present, remains that renewals are still being accepted, but new applications are not, and anyone applying for a renewal would be wise to get legal counsel before doing so.
 [Read More]

Amid Legal and Political Uncertainty, DACA Remains More Important Than Ever

Center for American Progress

Tom K. Wong, Associate Professor of political science at the University of CA, conducted a survey of DACA recipients that reveals its importance and real-life impact, particularly in the lives of DACA recipients themselves. 
After receiving DACA:
  • 54 percent of respondents moved to a job with better pay.
  • 46 percent of respondents moved to a job with better working conditions.
  • 45 percent of respondents moved to a job that “better fits [their] education and training.”
  • 45 percent of respondents moved to a job that “better fits [their] long-term career goals.”
  • 47 percent of respondents moved to a job with health insurance or other benefits.
 [Read More]

Disaster Recovery

Judge Rules that Hurricane Maria Survivors Can be Evicted from FEMA Motels

National Low-Income Housing Coalition

Almost one year after Hurricane Maria hit the island, a US District Court ruled that FEMA is allowed to terminate its assistance for survivors and evict them from the hotel rooms that have been housing them since their homes were destroyedin the hurricane last year.  The court ruling throws the original problem into stark relief:  that there is still no long-term housing solution for many Puerto Ricans devastated by the hurricane.
 [Read More]

New Op-Ed: “Trump’s Katrina”? When it Comes to the Housing Response, it’s Worse

National Low-Income Housing Coalition

In this op-ed for the Orlando Sentinel, NLIHC CEO and President Diane Yentel commented on the judge’s ruling (see story above) that FEMA can evict thousands of Hurricane Maria survivors still living in hotels or motels. If not for FEMA’s “inaction and stubborn, willful disregard,” Yentel argues, these survivors could instead be provided rental assistance through the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP).
 [Read More]

Panel Discussion on the Condition of Puerto Rican Children after Hurricane Maria to be Held on September 25

National Low-Income Housing Coalition

There will be a panel discussion hosted in Washington, DC, by two members of Congress: Representatives Jenniffer González Colón (R-PR) and Nydia Velázquez (D-NY).  On the program will be a discussion of initial findings from a study on the impact of the hurricane on children, recommendations on increasing youth employment, and a discussion of mental health interventions for children after the hurricane.
 [Read More]
 [Click here to register]

Poverty in the US

Despite Stronger Economy, Many Americans Still Need Help with Food

CBSNews MoneyWatch

One reason people struggle to afford food, according to experts: Many residents have jobs that earn too much for them to qualify for federal aid, yet lack sufficient income to get by on their own. Many families also don't qualify for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps. Almost half of the 41 million Americans who are defined as "food insecure" aren't eligible for food stamps, Feeding America found.
 [Read More]

Report: Most Workers in Low-Wage Labor Market Work Substantial Hours, in Volatile Jobs

Center on Budget and Policy Directives

In this analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Directives, authors Kristin F. Butcher and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach find that “most people with low education levels are working, and most of those are working a substantial amount. However, their earnings are low. Their employment prospects from one year to the next are volatile. … A closer look at the types of occupations disproportionately reported by SNAP or Medicaid beneficiaries shows that workers in these occupations face lower wages, less wage growth, and more volatility, measured in a variety of ways, than those who report “middle-class” occupations.”
 [Read More]

New Report Finds that More Americans, Particularly Children, are at Risk of Hunger

Food Research & Action Center

A new report by the Food Research & Action Center, “How Hungry is America?” reveals that, after several years of decline, the national food hardship rate for all households increased from 15.1 percent in 2016 to 15.7 percent in 2017. The food hardship rate for households with children rose to a considerably higher level, from 17.5 percent in 2016 to 18.4 percent in 2017. Nationally, the food hardship rate for households with children is 1.3 times higher than for households without children.
 [Read More]

Housing Vouchers Can Help More Families Live in Higher-Opportunity Areas

Center on Budget & Policy Priorities

Housing Choice Vouchers, otherwise known as “Section 8,” provide stability and roots to families who would otherwise be unable to afford them.  The vouchers can also help them live in better neighborhoods, which research shows has a powerful impact on children’s chances of long-term health and success.  Unfortunately, many families fail to take advantage of that.  CBPP proposes some possible solutions:
  1. Help interested families live in high-opportunity areas.
  2. Create strong incentives for housing agencies to improve location outcomes.
  3. Modify policies that discourage families from living in lower-poverty communities.
  4. Minimize jurisdictional barriers to families’ ability to live in high-opportunity communities.
 [Read More]

What We’re Reading

Farmworker Justice Update 09/07/18

Farmworker Justice reported on several key legislative issues in its most recent update, including the Farm Bill, the Goodlatte Ag Guestworker Bill, Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Hearing, and appropriations, as well as the potential impact all of these could have on the farmworker community.  For example, the House of Representatives included several riders in its appropriations bill that would expand H-2A into a year-long visa, which “would not only undermine the intent of the H-2A program to address more difficult to fill temporary and seasonal jobs, but would also supplant many of the existing farmworkers who depend on these jobs for their livelihood and who are integral members of their communities.”

 [Read More]

TANF at 22: Still Failing to Help Struggling Families Meet Basic Needs

Center on Budget & Policy Priorities

Twenty-two years ago, on August 22, 1996, President Clinton signed a law creating the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant and radically restructuring cash assistance for families with children living in poverty. Today, TANF reaches almost no families in poverty in a growing number of states. In 15 states, for every 100 families in poverty, 10 or fewer receive cash assistance. In 1996, no state had a ratio that low under Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), TANF’s predecessor.

 [Read More]

A Food Stamps Success Story

Voices for Human Needs

An “Otherwords” blogger, Sherry Brennan, grew up on Food Stamps and now tells her family’s story, saying that she hated the stigma of being on assistance, but she loved the stability of being fed three square meals a day.  Her family used that food to support themselves through tough times, Sherry excelled in school and went on to have a family of her own, and now she and her brothers “are all fully employed taxpayers who support ourselves and our families. In fact, I’ve paid more in taxes over the last 25 years than my entire family ever got in government assistance.”
 [Read More]

New House Republican Tax Proposal Fails Fiscal Responsibility Test, While Favoring the Wealthiest

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

The House is scheduled to vote on yet another tax-cut bill later this month, which will include more tax cuts that largely benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor.  According to CBPP, “the centerpiece of this tax-cut package is the permanent extension of the 2017 tax law’s individual provisions that are slated to expire after 2025.”  This and other provisions will increase income inequality, further run up our deficit, and expand existing loopholes through which the well-to-do already avoid paying their fair share of taxes.
 [Read More]
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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Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs · 1120 20th Street, N.W. · Suite 300 South · Washington, DC 20036 · USA

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