Fearing Loss of Skilled Labor, Washington Farmers Safeguard Migrant WorkersOn October 11, 2019 by Raul Dinwiddie
[ birds chirping ] [ §§§ ]
[ woman speaking in Spanish ] [ chickens clucking ]>>Okay, let’s see here.
Let’s start with the first one.
Make sure that you clock in with
the face clock when you come to work and clock out.
[ man speaking in Spanish ]
>>People think, “Oh, a
farmworker — uneducated, unskilled.”
That’s not at all true.
Working on farms is a skilled
job, and not just anybody can do it.
Let’s talk about our meat.
The people that work with us, a bunch of them come from the
southern part of Mexico.
A bunch of them come from the
central part of Mexico. Most of them grew up on farms.
They wander across the border
because they can make in a day
here what they make in a week in Mexico, and because there are no
opportunities for them. [ speaking in Spanish ]>>People are a lot more on
We have not had raids at this
time. What you do see is where the
immigration people come and ask
you for your I-9s, all the
information that we keep, and then they sort through those,
and then they come back and say,
“These are people that cannot
work here any longer.” And so to a certain extent, we
are helping the government to
keep track of who’s working
where. And so, you’ve kind of got a
push and a pull here.
If you take a look at all of
Skagit Valley, everybody here is an immigrant.
It’s just a matter of, when did
I started out life as a kid in the Netherlands.
My family moved to the United
States when I was five.
In 1960, my father found a farm in Skagit County here.
Farms at that time, about 30% of
the income generated by a farmer
would go to the farmer themselves.
Today, it’s 16%.
So it’s a lot tougher to be a
farmer. The problem we have is that we
don’t have a way to get the
people that are needed and
wanted here. There’s no system in place.
They have the H-2A program,
but the H-2A program is very
cumbersome and awkward to use. You’re supposed to estimate so
many months ahead of time how
many workers you need.
Then you need to pay for their transportation.
And you’ve got to house them
while they’re here.
It’s expensive. If you’re doing something wrong,
absolutely, you need to be
accountable for your actions.
But what people don’t understand is that these people are just
trying to feed their families.
They’re just trying to make a
living. They’re just like you and I. [ speaking in Spanish ] [ §§§ ]>>These farmworkers make farms
And, you know, there’s a lot of
truth to the fact that nobody in the United States eats without
food that’s been touched by
somebody’s who’s probably not
supposed to be here and probably doesn’t have documentation.
And if you’re eating, you are a
part of that immigration system.
[ speaking in Spanish ] [ §§§ ]