Immigrant workers — including farmworkers from Madera and Sanger — joined Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., in front of the White House on Wednesday in an effort to remind Americans of the people working behind their Thanksgiving meal and show support for President Barack Obama’s proposed executive action on immigration reform.
Inocencio Bernal Pedroza of Madera and Alberto Bermejo of Sanger were present at the gathering of immigrant farm, food and commercial workers from across the country.
“Farmworkers contribute to the U.S. economy, but many of them are undocumented and are not treated equally or acknowledged for their work,” Pedroza said. “They provide food for American families.
“Americans should try to have their Thanksgiving meal without undocumented farmworkers toiling in the fields. There would be no dinner.”
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The immigrants, members of United Farm Workers and United Food and Commercial Workers, presented a Thanksgiving table of harvested foods usually eaten during the holiday.
“If we’re not in the fields picking the peaches, then they won’t be served on Thanksgiving,” Bermejo said. “A little appreciation for what we do would go a long way.”
Letters from farmworkers were also delivered, explaining the importance of immigration reform for their families and communities.
Gutierrez said Obama “is going to act boldly, broadly and soon” on immigration reform.
“The president’s actions will mean that millions of American families will not fear deportation and destruction,” Gutierrez said. “So many people contributing to our economy, including those who pick, pack and move the food to our tables, will be able to continue helping us all live better.”