(SACRAMENTO, CA) – This week, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) and other California legislators submitted a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to reverse the Trump Administration’s direction of H.R. 133 funds and reinstate U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) investments, as originally intended, towards farmworker protections.
Despite collaborative legislative efforts to ensure H.R. 133 safeguards for agricultural workers against COVID-19, on January 4, 2021 the USDA announced it would allocate $1.5 billion on a fifth round of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program without making pandemic protection provisions for farmworkers.
“California recognizes and values the importance of agricultural workers and the increased risk they face feeding our families and providing essential services for our communities. We cannot abandon these brave frontline workers and we implore the federal government to restore these funds towards their intended purpose which included grants and loans to protect agricultural workers,” said Assemblymember Garcia.
“Ensuring the safety of our farmworkers is imperative to the stability of our food supply system and ability to reopen our economy safely. We must direct our attention and investments to provide these communities of essential workers with testing, vaccinations, and other pandemic resources.”
Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia has been hard at work strengthening legislative safeguards for essential workers, farmworkers, and other vulnerable populations. His first act of the 2021-22 legislative session was to introduce AB 93, California legislation that would prioritize food supply workers, including farmworkers and grocery store workers, for vaccine distribution and access to rapid testing during a pandemic.
Garcia went on to say, “I want to acknowledge the significant steps the Biden-Harris Administration took towards immigration reform on day one – presenting a stark contrast in values compared to what we’ve had to endure the past four years. A recent study stated that 69% of undocumented immigrant workers perform jobs essential to combating COVID-19. We are hopeful and eager to work with the new Administration to prioritize pandemic protections for farmworkers and our vulnerable immigrant communities working on the front lines of this pandemic.”
Attached is a copy of the January 20, 2021 letter.