Fort Collins, CO – On Thursday, Colorado Senator Michael Bennet visited a Fort Collins farm to hear first hand the experiences of immigrant farmworkers in Colorado. Buena Vida, a local tree and vegetable farm, hosted the event and facilitated the important open table discussion between the Senator and agricultural workers from across Northern Colorado.
The Senator was led on a tour of the farm by the Hispanic Women’s Farming Proyecto, a cooperative of women farmers who are responsible for the farm’s vegetable production. On the tour Senator Bennet was able to learn about the women who are able to learn about crops and farming while working and also get to sell and keep the profits from the produce they grow at weekly farmers markets at Buena Vida farm. A vast difference in work conditions of agriculture workers across the state who during the roundtable discussion shared their inhumane working conditions as farm workers and immigrants.
Immigrant agricultural workers across the country have long labored to feed American communities while under the threat of deportation and lacking many of the basic labor protections and access to healthcare and basic needs other Americans enjoy because of their immigration status. They have continued their vital work in the midst of a pandemic still raging, even risking their lives keeping the nation’s food production going.
“We suffer from fainting, headaches, zero breaks, the water is as hot as coffee. There is no shade, there is no where to go to the bathroom. We are asking you please, speak for us. You are our voice. Reunite families and improve working conditions. We need immigration reform.” Testimony from a farm worker.
The visit comes as the national push for immigration reform ramps up. In August, the House of Representatives passed a budget bill through the reconciliation process that includes ample funding for immigration to potentially put millions of undocumented immigrants on a path to citizenship, including thousands in Colorado. Included in the bill is a provision to create a pathway to citizenship for millions of the nation’s undocumented farmworkers.
“It’s past time for Congress to take action on a pathway to citizenship for aspiring Americans and their families who have sacrificed to put fresh food on the table for millions,” said U.S. Senator Michael Bennet. “I will take the powerful stories I heard today with me to Washington as we continue the fight for a pathway to citizenship for farm workers.”