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Jul 10, 2019  |  VIEW IN BROWSER

 

2019 AFOP National Conference

2019 AFOP National Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

by Jorge De Nava, Central Valley Opportunity Center, AFOP Conference Committee Co-Chairman

 
On behalf of AFOP Conference Committee Co-Chairmen Jennifer Shahan and Barbara Mosley, I am pleased to report that AFOP will hold its national conference this year at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in beautiful and breezy downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Tuesday, September 17-Thursday, September 19.  As always, the conference will feature timely and relevant presentations by the United States Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration and Dr. Andrew Wiegand, and a new AFOP Training Institute certification program offered by Jodie Sue Kelly.  In addition, our host agency, UMOS, will conduct exceedingly valuable trainings at its facilities for entry- and mid-level career services staff that shouldn’t be missed. 
 
  • You can register for the conference here.  The price remains unchanged at $495 for the early bird and $545 after August 30.
  • You can make hotel reservations here.  Be sure to mention AFOP to secure the room block rate of $120 (plus taxes) per night.
  • You can secure Milwaukee Brewers Major League Baseball tickets here.
  • If you intend to bring personal guests to conference meals and events, please register them here.
 
Lastly, a reminder that the AFOP standing committees will meet most of Monday, September 16.  For those serving on committees, please plan to be at the hotel that Monday morning. 
 
Thank you for your continuing support of AFOP and our national conference.  We look forward to seeing everyone in Milwaukee.

From the Desk of the Executive Director

Fiscal Fiasco?                                                    

By Daniel Sheehan, AFOP Executive Director


Budget wonks in Washington, D.C. are wringing their hands and expressing dismay at the prospects of the federal government suffering a self-inflicted fiscal cataclysm later this summer.  Lawmakers, too, are concerned that Congress is facing a “fiscal fiasco” this fall as negotiations with the administration to avoid this fate remain stalemated with little signs of progress.  Despite a flurry of meetings over the past several weeks, congressional leaders and top administration officials have struggled to secure a deal to avoid devasting budget cuts, a government shutdown and debt default in September.  And now, internal feuds in both parties are threatening to complicate the talks even further.
 
On the Republican side, lawmakers have rebelled against the administration's proposed fix to the fiscal pile-up.  Recently, a group of Senate Republicans sent a letter to the administration rejecting a yearlong, stopgap funding bill, citing concerns about military spending.  And Capitol Hill Republicans have also been less than thrilled that the president is having fiscal hard-liners to lead the budget negotiations.  For their part, Democrats are facing internal divisions, too.  Some House Democrats are unhappy their centrist colleagues and Senate Democrats embraced a border aid package negotiated with Senate Republicans, taking away their leverage to hold out for more generous funding.  They are making their displeasure known, especially after recent news reports about detention facilities at the United States-Mexico border show a drastic need for additional humanitarian funding.

Meanwhile, the federal government could default on its debt in early September if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling before then, according to a new study from the Bipartisan Policy Center.  The report says that while the Center still projects the deadline is more likely to land in October, just the possibility of it hitting in September raises considerable political stakes.  The U.S. officially hit its debt limit earlier this year, but the Treasury Department has been using what are known as "extraordinary measures" that allow it to borrow internally in ways that do not count toward the debt.  When those measures run out, the government will no longer be able to pay all its bills and would default, a move that would almost certainly trigger chaos in global financial markets.
 
[Read more]
 
Read more about the debt limit here

Inside AFOP

AFOP Wins Additional Funding for NFJP Housing Grantee Technical Assistance and Training


The Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP) is pleased to announce that the United States Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration has awarded AFOP an additional $50,000 to allow National Farmworker Jobs Program (NFJP) Housing grantees to participate in two peer support site visits to better learn and share best practices and improve overall grantee performance.  AFOP would convene these visits prior to the end of February.  These visits would each encompass three full meeting days and two travel days.
 
A key aspect of the peer support site visits is to share promising practices, and to accelerate the adoption of such practices across the NFJP Housing grantees.  Grantees will focus on any identified “pain points” including but not limited to:  understanding the full extent of housing services that comply with WIOA, delivering excellent customer services to migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their families by understanding their housing needs, securing financial support, and establishing community partnerships.

AFOP Endorses Moves to Protect Immigrant Children

 
AFOP last month joined with a large number of other humanitarian organizations in writing Congress to express strong support for the Humane Enforcement and Legal Protections (HELP) for Separated Children Act and the HELP Separated Families Act, introduced by Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-California), which codify protections for children who may be separated from their parents by immigration enforcement actions in the interior.  The letter read, “As organizations committed to promoting the health and well-being of children, youth, and families, we stand united against the administration’s harsh immigration enforcement agenda and the trauma it is imposing on more than a quarter of children in the United States, the majority of whom are U.S. citizens.  These companion bills represent a critical step toward mitigating the harm of enforcement actions on children.” 

[Read more]

AFOP Joins More than 52,000 in Opposing OMB Proposal to Shrink the Poverty Line

 
In May, the administration announced its latest plan to deny assistance to millions: shrinking the poverty line.  Those groups in opposition to this end-run helped generate more than 52,000 comments opposing this attempt to redefine the poverty line, submitted from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  

[Read more]

Read AFOP’s comments here.

AFOP Weighs in Against Joint Employer Proposed Rule

 
AFOP recently wrote to DOL Wage and Hour to express opposition to the agency's “Proposed Rule: Joint Employer Status Under the Fair Labor Standards Act.”  The rule would reverse longstanding interpretation of the law and the progress made against abusive farming businesses that use farm labor contractors to avoid responsibility for complying with the minimum wage and child labor rules.

Read AFOP’s comments here.

AFOP Endorses Federal Heat-Stress Prevention Efforts

 
Heat is the leading weather-related killer, and it is becoming more dangerous as 18 of the last 19 years were the hottest on record.  Excessive heat can cause heat stroke and even death if not treated properly.  It also exacerbates existing health problems like asthma, kidney failure, and heart disease.  Workers in agriculture and construction are at highest risk, but the problem affects all workers exposed to heat, including indoor workers without climate-controlled environments.  This threat is projected to intensify with global heating, yet, the U.S. does not have a federal heat stress standard for workers. 

[Read more]

AFOP Health & Safety Blogs

 
In case you missed June's blogs, you can check them out here.  They featured child labor in the chocolate industry, changing technologies in agriculture, Dreamers, and other postings of interest to farmworker advocates. 

[Read more]

Proteus Names New CEO, Promotes Beste to CFO

 
Proteus announced this month that it has named Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel as its new chief executive officer.  Proteus is the AFOP member serving immigrant, underserved and low-income populations in Iowa, Nebraska and Indiana.  Hoffman-Zinnel has more than a decade of nonprofit experience and worked at Proteus from 2007 to 2014 as a career development coordinator and regional director.  He begins his duties August 15 and replaces Terry Irlmeier who has been serving as interim CEO since April.  The organization also named Carla Beste as its new chief financial officer.  A longtime AFOP board director, Beste has served in a variety of roles at Proteus since 1991.
 
[Read more]

Success Story from Kansas: Mr Romano Burger


Romano Burger, who is a migrant worker from south-west Kansas, was born in Africa. His mom passed away when he was a baby. His dad made the decision to move to the United States due to the family’s personal hardships and family's unlivable circumstances in Africa. When Romano was in high school, he worked the harvest to help with the family finances.  He always knew as soon as school came to an end he would begin his own harvest journey.  That is when he found out about Kansas SER and the National Farmworker Jobs Program.

[Read more]

Inside DOL

The United States Senate July 11 approved the president’s choice to serve as the United States Department of Labor Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training, Mr. John Pallasch.  Secretary Pallasch is no stranger to the Labor Department, yet most recently served as the head of the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Office of Employment and Training.  Learn more about the new ETA Assistant Secretary here.

DOL Announces Industry-Led Apprenticeship Plan

 
The United States Department of Labor announced late last month major milestones in its continuing effort to expand apprenticeship in the United States. DOL proposed the rule to establish a process to advance the development of high-quality Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs.  In addition, the Department announced the award of $183 million in investments to grow apprenticeship and $100 million in funding availability. 

[Read more]

ETA Office of Workforce Investment’s Division of National Programs, Tools, and Technical Assistance

 
Headed by Division Chief Steve Rietzke, the Division of National Programs, Tools, and Technical Assistance (DNPTTA) works to further an integrated national workforce investment system that provides workers with the job search assistance and information on labor markets, occupations, careers, and supportive services they need to get and keep good jobs; that delivers employment and training services to targeted populations; and that improves the workforce system's capacity to deliver integrated high quality programs to jobseeker and employers.  The division achieves this by: (1) providing national leadership, oversight, policy guidance, and technical assistance to the workforce investment system; (2) working collaboratively with other federal agencies and partners and stakeholders, the continuum of education, and state and local governments; and (3) strategically managing programs and initiative to ensure high performance, greater public accountability, and service quality.  Among its many functions, the Division runs the Specialty National Programs Unit, headed by Laura Ibañez, which: 
 
  • Administers four program areas that focus on targeted worker populations: National Farmworker Jobs Program; migrant and seasonal farmworker Monitor Advocate activities; services for individuals with disabilities, including the Disability Employment Initiative; and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit program.
  • Manages and oversees grants and investments, provides technical assistance and training, manages grant solicitations, and provides support for regional federal project officers in managing specialty national program grantees.
  • Develops and promote public workforce system capacity for delivery of services to targeted populations, including individuals with disability and migrant and seasonal farmworkers.
 
Learn more here.

DOL Reports Record Low Unemployment in Nine States


Nine states had low unemployment rates in May, according to data released recently by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Texas and Vermont set new lows, while Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin matched lows.

[Read more]

Farmworkers Matters

Farmworker Justice Condemns Amendment Expanding H-2A Agricultural Guestworker Program to Year-Round Jobs

 
The House Appropriations Committee, while voting last month on the FY 2020 spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security, added a fundamental, substantive change to the H-2A temporary foreign agricultural worker program.  The amendment would allow agricultural employers to hire agricultural guestworkers for jobs that are year-round.  The uncapped H-2A program is limited to jobs that are temporary or seasonal.  The effort to change the scope of the H-2A program through an amendment on the appropriations bill was led by Representatives Newhouse (R-Washington) and Cuellar (D-Texas).  Farmworker Justice notes the comments of Representatives Roybal-Allard, DeLauro, Torres, and Kaptur in speaking out against the amendment.
           
Farmworker Justice strongly opposes this proposed change and the method by which it was adopted.  Bruce Goldstein, President of Farmworker Justice, said: “Expanding the H-2A program to year-round jobs would contravene the purpose of the program and further distort the agricultural labor market.  The H-2A program is premised on the idea that it may be difficult to find U.S. workers for seasonal farm jobs because they yield lower annual incomes than year-round jobs.  That same logic does not apply to year-round employment.  Agricultural employers with year-round jobs should do what any other employer must do to attract and retain workers: improve wages and working conditions.”
 
This amendment does nothing to fix the H-2A program and will only worsen the situation for our nation’s dedicated farmworkers.  The H-2A program is rife with abuses resulting from unscrupulous employers that take advantage of the vulnerable guestworkers, displacing U.S. workers and undermining U.S. workers’ labor standards.  Moreover, expanding the H-2A program to include year-round jobs does nothing to address the roughly one million current farmworkers who are undocumented and face the threat of deportation.  Says Farmworker Justice, “It makes little sense to allow employers to hire H-2A workers to displace their current undocumented farmworkers.” 
 
Farmworker Justice has called on Congress to reject this amendment and pass legislation granting immigration status and a path to citizenship for undocumented workers and their family members.  The solution to the agricultural industry’s reliance on immigrant workers must be to respect the contributions and humanity of those workers with comprehensive immigration reform.  The Agricultural Worker Program Act of 2019 (S. 175/H.R. 641) would do that by providing an opportunity to move forward a positive and workable solution in Congress that will meet the needs of workers, agricultural employers, and our food system.

Florida Strawberry Farm Settles DOJ Hiring Bias Investigation

 
The Department of Justice announced recently that it has reached a settlement agreement with Sam Williamson Farms Inc. (SWF), a strawberry farm in Dover, Florida.  The settlement resolves the Department’s investigation into whether SWF violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by preferring to hire H-2A visa holders to harvest its strawberry crop instead of U.S. workers.  This is the seventh settlement under the Civil Rights Division’s Protecting U.S. Workers Initiative, which is aimed at targeting, investigating, and taking enforcement actions against companies that discriminate against U.S. workers in favor of temporary visa workers. 

[Read more]

Arizona Labor Contractors Penalized

 
The U.S. District Court in Arizona has banned one local farm labor contractor from doing business as a contractor permanently and ordered another to comply with all applicable laws in the future after a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD) investigation revealed systemic violations of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA) and the labor provisions of the H-2A foreign guest worker program. 

[Read more]

Housing

Senators Send Letter to HUD Opposing Proposed Mixed-Status Immigrant-Family Rule

 
A group of 19 Democratic senators led by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) sent a letter on June 12 to HUD Secretary Ben Carson opposing the agency’s proposal to prohibit mixed-status immigrant families from living in public and other subsidized housing. The letter notes that 25,000 families, including 55,000 children who are U.S. citizens or who have legal status, are at risk of being made homeless by HUD’s proposal. 
 
[Read letter here]

[Read more of this article here]

ACLU Opposes HUD’s Proposed Rule on “Mixed-Status” Families in Public Housing and Section 8 Programs

 
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a public comment strongly opposing the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) proposed rule change that will ban "mixed-status" families from living in public housing or Section 8 programs if at least one household member is undocumented or otherwise ineligible for housing benefits due to their immigration status.  HUD's proposed rule will also require over 9 million U.S. citizens and 120,000 elderly immigrants currently receiving assistance to produce proof of citizenship or immigration status.  This rule will effectively evict tens of thousands of immigrant families in need of assistance, exacerbating a homelessness crisis and stoking fear among immigrant communities.  Moreover, the proposed rule's documentation requirement will jeopardize housing for those who face significant barriers to obtaining such documents. 

[Read more]

Rental Housing for Low-Income Families Increasingly “Out of Reach”

National Low Income Housing Coalition

 
NLIHC has released the 30th anniversary edition of “Out of Reach” comparing wages and rents throughout the U.S.  The report illustrates that rental housing continues to be out of reach for millions of low-wage workers and other extremely low-income renters.  On average, a full-time worker in the U.S. must earn $22.96 per hour to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment at the fair market rent and $18.65 for a modest one-bedroom apartment.  In nine states and the District of Columbia, full-time workers need to earn more than $25.00 per hour for a modest two-bedroom apartment. 

[Read more]

Immigration

House Passes Dreamer Bill, Offers Path to Citizenship

Washington Post

 
The House on June 4 passed a bill that would offer a path to citizenship to more than two million undocumented immigrants, including “dreamers” who were brought to the United States as children.  The vote was 237 to 187 for the “American Dream and Promise Act of 2019,” which would grant dreamers 10 years of legal residence status if they meet certain requirements.  They would then receive permanent green cards after completing at least two years of higher education or military service, or after working for three years.  The measure would provide long-awaited clarity to the millions of dreamers who have been caught in legal limbo amid years of partisan maneuvering on the issue.  The Obama administration granted work permits to many of them through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, but the current administration ended the program in late 2017.  Its fate now rests with the Supreme Court. 
 
[Read more]

Due to Fear, One in Seven Adults in Immigrant Families Forwent Public Benefits

Urban Institute

 
A recent Urban Institute has issued a briefing paper showing that one in seven adults in immigrant families did not participate in a non-cash benefit program in 2018 out of fear of risking future green card status.  The administration is pushing a proposed rule that would consider an immigrant’s past use of non-cash public benefit programs, such as SNAP or Medicaid, as a negative factor in applications for green cards (i.e., permanent residency) or temporary visas.  But even before the rule has taken effect, new evidence suggests that it is having a substantial "chilling effect" on people who qualify for public benefit programs.
 
[Read more]

Doctors Concerned About 'Irreparable Harm' To Separated Migrant Children

 
In South Texas, pediatricians started sounding the alarm weeks ago as migrant shelters began filling up with younger children separated from their parents after they crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. 
The number of migrant children in U.S. government custody is soaring — partly the result of a policy decision by the Trump administration to separate children from their parents who are being prosecuted for unlawful entry. Hundreds of the children being held in shelters are under age 13.

[Read more]

The Neglect of Children at the Border has Long-Term Consequences

 
Amid the recent controversy surrounding the treatment of migrant children held at the U.S.-Mexico border, three child development experts explain how cleanliness, sleep, nutrition, and exercise are imperative for well-being and positive outcomes in adulthood.

 [Read more]

Trump’s Child Detention Camps Cost $775 Per Person Every Day

 
The daily cost for a child in a detention camp is more than a stay in a deluxe room at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC.  Keeping children with their parents and guardians in Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities would only cost $298 per night.  And yet, the policy persists. 

  [Read more]

Poverty

‘This Doesn’t Look Like the Best Economy Ever’: 40% of Americans Say They Still Struggle to Pay Bills

Washington Post

 
Although the economy is strong, its expansion since the Great Recession has been weaker and its benefits distributed more unevenly than in previous growth cycles. The 40 percent of Americans who have not benefited have seen slow or volatile wage growth; increased housing, health care, and education expenses; and increased personal debt. If they get behind on their bills, they never fully recover, and are especially at risk should there be an even mild setback in the economy. “So many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck,” said Signe-Mary McKernan, vice president of the Center on Labor, Human Services and Population at the Urban Institute. “We are headed toward a political crisis, if not an economic one.” 

 [Read more]

New Research Shows SNAP Recipients are a Benefit to — not a Drain on — Rural Economies

Pacific Standard

 
A report published this week by the United States Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service found that increased spending on SNAP under President Barack Obama created more jobs in rural counties.  'The White House is running a one-way ratchet squeezing the poor [out of government assistance] by changing the rules in program after program,' says Jim Weill, president of the food security non-profit Food Research & Action Center.'” 

 [Read more]

What We’re Reading

A New Plan to Remove Carbon Dioxide from the Atmosphere: Bury it

Washington Post

 
Last month, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere surpassed 415 parts per million, the highest in human history.  Environmental experts say the world is increasingly on a path toward a climate crisis.  The most prominent efforts to prevent that crisis involve reducing carbon emissions.  But another idea is also starting to gain traction — sucking all that carbon out of the atmosphere and storing it underground.  It sounds like an idea plucked from science fiction, but the reality is that trees and plants already do it, breathing carbon dioxide and then depositing it via roots and decay into the soil.  Could this be a new industry? 

 [Read more]

U.S. Wins World Cup with a Final Four-Star Performance

Washington Post

 
The U.S. team has been the beacon for the women’s game, both on and off the field, for years.  But, until this day, it had never won consecutive world crowns.  Four years after lifting the trophy in Canada, the Americans retained the title by scoring twice in an eight-minute span of the second half of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Lyon, France
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.
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Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs

1120 20th Street, N.W. |  Suite 300 South
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