Immigrant Farmworkers Say: Go Ahead, Take Our Jobs

Yesterday the United Farm Workers launched a new campaign meant to expose the unjust characterization of undocumented immigrants as taking jobs from U.S. citizens and legal residents.

In inviting native-born and eligible foreign-born workers to get a job as a farmworker, the Texas Tribune reports, the campaign “Take Our Jobs”

underscores what [UFW President Arturo] Rodriguez said is the unjustifiable label thrust upon farm and livestock workers, many of whom earn about $12,000 annually. Agriculture workers have been unjustly targeted as scapegoats during the current immigration debate, he said, and the tongue-in-cheek approach is meant to address the hypocrisy.

This messaging strategy may turn out to be genius, drawing out comments like this one from critical online commenters (and possibly talking heads?), who normally berate undocumented immigrants:

“Oh, yes! Let me sell my home, leave my family and move out west where at 64 years of age I can run a tractor, slaughter beef or plant vegetables.”

Story continues below

Join the 9th Annual Cesar Chavez March Celebrating 50 Years United in the Struggle! March 31, 2012. Click above for more info.

Join the 9th Annual Cesar Chavez March Celebrating 50 Years United in the Struggle! March 31, 2012. Click above for more info.

Comments like these say what reporters are not: immigrants and citizens generally are not in competition for jobs. This effort may force both critical online commenters and reporters to recognize this fact. And readers to rethink their support for AgJobs, the bill that would provide farmworkers legal status provided they continue working in the fields.

And with such a simple challenge that almost no one will take up, it will be hard to cover this story unfavorably to immigrant workers and their dreams of access to documents. Already this story has run favorably to immigrants on the front page of today’s edition of the Monitor, a paper known in this region for being considerably anti-worker and with little favorable coverage of immigrant issues.

You can read more about the campaign on the Texas Tribune website.

And consider helping our work for humane immigration reform by making a donation today.

Consider helping our work for humane immigration reform by donating today.

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