Central California Farmworker Stories:  Eugenio and Elfago

Some experts believe programs will be created in the near future which favor employers but erode farm worker and other immigrant rights.  Thirty-six year old Eugenio prunes pistachio trees near Bakersfield, Calif.  His wife and children are in Mexico.  “So I make a little money, then go back to Oaxaca, where I’m building a house,” he says.  But he says border security is so tight now he hasn’t been home to Mexico in five years. “I’m trying to figure out how to come with a work visa,” he says. “I’d really like that.”

Other workers like Elfego, laboring in the same fields as Eugenio, don’t like the concept of temporary visas. He and his family have been in the United States 17 years. He’d prefer a way to stay more permanently, and worries legal guest workers from Mexico would replace him. “What happens with those of us who are here? Trump will deport us because we’re illegal,” he says.  He worries that more immigration raids, less enforcement of farmworker protection laws or the forced use of E-Verify, a government tool for checking employment eligibility, may soon come.

(Read the full story, by Vanessa Rancano, at:  http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/01/21/510593227/will-trumps-tough-talk-on-immigration-cause-a-labor-shortage