Rosalinda Guillen, Executive Director of Community to Community Development, recently took to Facebook to share her thoughts on emergency rules in agriculture in a live video.
She notes that COVID-19 is hitting everyone across the country, but then claims that the farm worker community is “in a higher danger than other communities.” All essential workers in this pandemic face some level of risk, whether they are in agriculture, healthcare, grocery stores, and countless other essential services.
She emphasizes that it isn’t about the food, it’s about the people. If that is the case, why is she pushing to get rid of housing and jobs that thousands of farm workers depend on?
Many of these farm workers come from areas with little to no economic opportunity, and depend on these jobs to help their families and cover basic necessities. Guillen’s proposal would leave half of these temporary workers – some from elsewhere in the United States, some legally from Mexico or other foreign countries – with no job and no safe place to stay.
Guillen has often misrepresented the risks that farm workers face. In fact, in the video at the link above, the farm worker makes it clear that he views his workplace as safe, and that he’s “more worried about going out […] and catching it in public.”
In her video, Guillen also doubled down on her emphasis on H-2A workers, a temporary farm worker visa program to which her organization has long been opposed. This statement makes her motivation clear: she wants to prevent farms from hiring H-2A workers. If not, why wouldn’t she want her proposed rules applied to all essential workers?
Later she claimed that farm worker wages were at risk because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This statement is absolutely false – the only thing putting farm worker wages at risk is her plan to take away their jobs and their housing.
Farms across the state have been making major adjustments to keep their workers safe since the start of the outbreak.
Guillen still hasn’t proposed a solution for the thousands of domestic workers that will be arriving soon from California and Texas, in addition to the H-2A workers. Instead, she wants to take away safe, licensed housing from them and leave them to figure out a solution on their own. How does that protect workers?
View our full fact check of her video below, and learn more about the issue here.