One of the most widely repeated claims against enacting immigration reform is the argument that immigrants take jobs from American workers. Today, in response, the United Farm Workers (UFW) launched a new “Take Our Jobs” campaign. The UFW is inviting American citizens and legal residents to fill the farm jobs that are mostly occupied by undocumented labor:
In a letter to U.S. lawmakers, UFW offers farm workers who are “ready to train citizens and legal residents who wish to replace immigrants in the fields,” and encourages Members of Congress to refer their constituents to vacant farm worker positions. UFW has locations across the country where Members of Congress can direct their constituents willing to do work on large-scale farms. Employers will be on hand at each site to answer questions, meet prospective employees and assist in the application process. All who are interested or unemployed and are legal residents or U.S. citizens are encouraged to apply.
In reality, the UFW knows that response to the program will likely be low. Agriculture is ranked amongst the three most hazardous occupations in the nation. For every 100,000 agricultural workers in the U.S. in 2007, there were 25.7 occupational deaths. That’s because farm workers are exposed to toxic pesticides, work under the hot sun for 10-12 hours a day, handle hazardous tools and machinery, and live in crowded condition with poor sanitation. In return, most farm workers earn approximately $28,040 a year.