Obama to shield 250K farm workers from deportation, union says

President Obama’s executive action on immigration will provide deportation relief to a quarter million farm workers, a top union executive said after a meeting at the White House on Wednesday.

“We were pleased to learn from the President today that at least 250,000 farm workers (and at least 125,000 California farm workers) will be eligible for deportation relief under his executive action,” said Arturo Rodriguez, the president of United Farm Workers (UFW), in a statement Wednesday.

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“The president committed to working with UFW to do everything possible to make sure that every farm worker who qualifies for the program gets enrolled, and we are prepared to work with him and Congress to finish the job by passing legislation that fully addresses this issue once and for all.”   

The president is expected to announce a sweeping set of executive actions that extends the deportation deferrals and work permits to millions of illegal immigrants with children who are U.S. citizens or legal residents. Obama is also likely to announce an expansion of the visa program for highly skilled tech workers.

The UFW and other farm workers groups participated in a Thanksgiving-themed protest in front of the White House earlier in the day, imploring Obama to include the workers as part of the plan. 

“It makes absolutely no sense, none whatsoever, to take farm workers, hundreds of thousands of them we all know are undocumented, and to take them from our fields,” Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) said at the event. 

“What we should do is document them. Mr. President, give them the working documents they need.”