In this interview, Dr. Ann Lopez of the Center for Farmworker Families discusses a proposed bill that would grant some rights to undocumented farmworkers while leaving them open to deportation if they cannot comply with some very stringent conditions. Dr. Lopez says this will make the poverty and fear among this vulnerable population worse.
Ann’s book entitled The Farmworkers’ Journey summarizes the results, arguments and conclusions of her research and was published by UC Press in June 2007. She has been recognized for her work by The U.S. Congress and many organizations. She was chosen as a Woman of the Year for 2013 and 2014 by the National Association of Professional Women. In March 2018, she was chosen for a 16th Annual Cesar E. Chavez Community Award in Watsonville.
California produces over 350 commodities; including 1/3 of the nation’s vegetables and nearly 2/3 of the nation’s fruits and nuts. California produces 90% of the strawberries grown in the U.S. Here on the central coast, strawberries, blackberries and lettuce are the biggest crops.
Between 1/3 and 1/2 of all farmworkers in America reside in California, or roughly 500,000 – 800,000 farmworkers. Approximately 75% of California’s farmworkers are undocumented; 83% in Santa Cruz County. App-roximately 1/3 are women, and they range in age from their teens to their 60s. In addition there are 400,000 children working in U.S. fields; See Eva Longoria’s documentary about children Farmworkers, The Harvest/La Cosecha.