A demonstration sponsored by the United Farm Workers Foundation took place on June 30 at the Robert E. Coyle Federal Building in Fresno. Around 40 protesters were there to pressure Senator Alex Padilla, who has an office in the building, to be active in support of Senate passage of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, also known as the Farmworker Legalization Bill. The bill offers a path to a green card and then citizenship—over the course of a number of years—for about 325,000 immigrant agricultural workers who are now without legal status.
The bill passed the House of Representatives on March 18, with all but one Democrat voting yes, and 30 Republicans voting yes. Along with the United Farm Workers, more than 250 labor groups have backed the bill, as have many growers’ organizations. Other pro-farmworker organizations have said the process to acquire papers under the bill is too onerous and its results would be limited.
Linda Duran, a Fresno organizer for the United Farmworkers Foundation, said, “We are right here in front of the office of Alex Padilla because he has raised his voice to support our farmworkers. We need the tools and the power of the senators to help us. That’s because the Farm Workforce Modernization Act is only a proposal at this moment.”