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California Bill Would Give State Work Permit To Agricultural Workers

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Joe Moore
/
Valley Public Radio

With immigration reform efforts seemingly stalled in Washington D.C., the California legislature is taking its own steps to address the undocumented immigrants who call the state home. FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports on one new bill that would give state work permits to agricultural workers.

The bill introduced by assembly member Luis Alejo hopes to give undocumented workers the chance to work legally in California’s agricultural industry. According to Alejo, as much as 75 percent of the industry’s workforce is undocumented.

“You hear their stories every week about how difficult it is for them but then you also hear from the farmers that it’s becoming more difficult for them to find the people who are willing to do this very difficult work," Alejo says.

The measure would only apply to agricultural workers with the hope of solving the ongoing labor shortage.

If it becomes law, it would need approval from the Obama administration to take effect since it challenges federal immigration authority. The bill is now headed to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Diana Aguilera is a multimedia reporter native of Santiago, Chile. It was during her childhood in Santiago where her love for journalism sparked. Diana moved to Fresno while in her teens and is a proud graduate of California State University, Fresno. While earning her degree in journalism and minor in Latin American studies, Diana worked for the Fresno Bee. Her work as a general assignment reporter continued after college and was recognized by the California Newspaper Publishers Association. In 2014, she joined Valley Public Radio. Her hobbies include yoga, traveling and reading.