Alex Padilla becomes the first US Senator to work full-time with farmhands in Moorpark

MOORPARK, Calif. (KABC) — As of 6 a.m. U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) began his workday with farm workers in Moorpark.

“I have worked with United Farm Workers and other farm worker advocates for many, many years, but this will give me first-hand recognition of how tough the work is and may make me a better advocate with my Senate peers . ‘ Padilla said.

United Farm Workers said Padilla was the first US Senator to do so

“I saw how important it was to workers that a US Senator took the time to come here and work alongside them,” said UFW President Teresa Romero.

The invitation, which is part of the “Take Our Jobs” Campaign to gain Senate support for a path to citizenship for farm workers.

“They are unsung heroes and they deserve a lot better from the government in terms of job security, in terms of the path to citizenship,” Padilla said.

Padillas is the son of Mexican immigrants. His father worked as a part-time cook in Los Angeles and his mother worked as a cleaner.

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Efren Garcia started his job as a farmhand more than 40 years ago at the age of 17.

His wife works in a grocery store and they help support his parents in Oaxaca, Mexico.

“The hardest thing is not having papers,” Garcia said.

Many of his colleagues told Padilla how they long to visit their aging parents back home before they die.

“I’ve held the hands of farm workers who can’t go to their mother’s or father’s funeral,” Romero said.

She said these experiences were far too common.

The physical strain is also significant. Garcia said gathering radishes was a particular challenge and workers had to stay on their knees throughout the day.

“It’s not that bad today, but they’re out here in 110-degree weather or in the pouring rain,” Padilla said. “The work must be done. People have to eat and they do it with joy. But it’s hard work.”

UFW said U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) also accepted their invitation, and the organization is urging the rest of the Senate to do the same.

“Because sometimes they forget. They forget that we exist on the field,” Garcia said.

Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved. Alex Padilla becomes the first US Senator to work full-time with farmhands in Moorpark

Laura Coffey

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