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Interview: 'Ghost Workers' More Common Than Thought In Migrant Farm Work

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Migrant workers harvest corn on Uesugi Farms in Gilroy, CA on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013.

It's no secret here in Central California that many, if not most, people who work  in the fields in Valley agriculture are undocumented immigrants.

University of Denver Anthropologist Sarah Hortonrevealed in a study published in late June that agricultural employers often take advantage of migrants' inability to work legally by making their employment contingent upon working under the false or borrowed identity documents provided by employers.

Horton says that farm workers call this practice "working as a ghost." She says it's a way for agribusiness companies to disguise thier employment of undocumented people. 

Horton also recently wrote a book on the issue as well.  "They Leave Thier Kidney's in the Fields" focuses on the illneess, injury and illegality among U.S. Farmworkers.

To listen to the interview between Valley Edition Host Joe Moore and Sarah Horton click play above. 

Joe Moore is the President and General Manager of KVPR / Valley Public Radio. He has led the station through major programming changes, the launch of KVPR Classical and the COVID-19 pandemic. Under his leadership the station was named California Non-Profit of the Year by Senator Melissa Hurtado (2019), and won a National Edward R. Murrow Award for investigative reporting (2022).
Ezra David Romero is an award-winning radio reporter and producer. His stories have run on Morning Edition, Morning Edition Saturday, Morning Edition Sunday, All Things Considered, Here & Now, The Salt, Latino USA, KQED, KALW, Harvest Public Radio, etc.
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