There are still many challenges, but a lot has changed already -- just in the last 10 years child labor has become almost unheard of on many of the bigger export farms, and more groups are now complying with Mexican labor laws. But of course, more can be done.
With new Senate leadership in place, legislative immigration reform is more uncertain, and President Obama's recent attempt to address aspects of it by executive order is not only understandable but a needed helping hand.
Immigrant farm, food and commercial workers gathered in Lafayette Square across from the White House the week before Thanksgiving Day to remind their fellow Americans of the flesh-and-blood human beings who are behind the great bounty of food all of us share on this celebrated holiday.
The 21st-century customer knows more than ever about which farmers are good to the environment and good for the health of shoppers. But there's one thing that promo ads won't tell you: whether farmers are good to their employees.
Nearly all of the produce we eat in the United States is handpicked. Machines don't harvest our fresh lettuce, peaches, cherries, carrots, etc. People do. And as one can imagine, that work is difficult.
In Wasco -- in the San Joaquin Valley where tens of thousands of farm workers toil -- a local ordinance has approved the expansion of a railroad coal depot right next to an overwhelmingly Latino barrio.
Sheriff Youngblood is boldly defying state law, an odd stand by a law enforcement officer sworn to uphold the law. The sheriff's position doesn't encourage confidence in him by the Latino community and many others in Kern County.
What's the quickest way to get thrown out of a Publix supermarket? Is it a) to run naked through the aisles, b) to point and yell 'horsemeat!' at the deli counter or c) to query the manager about whether workers picking tomatoes are treated as well as she'd like. In my case, it was option c).
What America needs now is not a new guest worker program but genuine immigration reform. Most Americans who aren't wealthy don't ask "guests" into their homes to do work on an almost permanent basis. Likewise, let's be honest about the term "temporary" worker.
This year on his holiday, with the poverty rate at more than 16 percent, let us not allow the corporate media coverage to yet again ignore the great crusade for economic justice that Dr. King was spearheading by 1968.