Last month, the UFW and a coalition of labor, civil and immigrant rights' organizations sent a letter asking for a thorough audit and investigation into the H-2A agricultural guest worker program. This occurred after Operation Blooming Onion resulted in at least 54 indictments that included forced labor trafficking, human smuggling and money laundering—among others—in a years-long exploitation of workers on South Georgia farms.
According to the Department of Justice, the workers were "required to dig onions with their bare hands, paid 20 cents for each bucket harvested, and threatened with guns and violence to keep them in line. The workers were held in cramped, unsanitary quarters and fenced work camps with little or no food, limited plumbing and without safe water. The conspirators are accused of raping, kidnapping and threatening or attempting to kill some of the workers or their families, and in many cases sold or traded the workers to other conspirators. At least two of the workers died as a result of workplace conditions."
What we are seeing with the H-2A program in Georgia—and likely elsewhere in America—amounts to "modern day slavery." This is an especially gruesome example, but it's not isolated. This story is a clear symptom of a program that needs urgent intervention.
Sign the petition today. Tell the Biden Administration immediately implement policies to stop the abuses in the H-2A program, such as those exposed in Operation Blooming Onion.
The H-2A program is a flawed, exploitative program that harms both farm workers in the U.S. and those being brought to the U.S. through the H-2A program. The Justice Department's Operation Blooming Onion resulted in charges of forced labor and included allegations of death, kidnapping and rape. This case is just the tip of the iceberg.
We call on the Biden Administration to conduct a thorough audit and investigation of the H-2A program. They should immediately implement policies and start the process to create rules that will stop the abuses in our H-2A program, such as those exposed in Operation Blooming Onion.
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