October 21, 2014
MADERA, Calif. (AP) - In 1986, when Congress agreed to allow immigrants who were in the country illegally to get legal status, more than a million farmworkers applied. In Central California, the nation's agricultural powerhouse and a region with one of the highest poverty levels, the impact was profound.
Many legalized farmworkers left the fields, moving to better-paid jobs in packing houses, warehouses and factories, attending college and working as professionals. Others became crew leaders or labor contractors.
With Congress considering new immigration overhaul that includes a speedier process for farmworkers, experts say it could again lift many of those employed in agriculture out of poverty.
Changes would also include a guest worker program so that a poor, illegal class of farmworker isn't created again.
Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Viewers with disabilities can get assistance accessing this station's FCC Public Inspection File by contacting the station with the information listed below. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, 888-835-5322 (TTY), or email@example.com.