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California seems to be following in the footsteps of Utah in its guest worker program. Several ideas from House Bill 116 filed in Utah are being borrowed by legislators in California and putting them into a likely referendum. California has a lot of stake on the matter since its agriculture industry heavily relies on migrant farm workers.
The bill would provide guest workers the opportunity to live in California via a state-run pilot program. The measure was filed by Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes after observing a lot of farms in California are languishing from lack of workers.
Amy Campbell, a resident of Salt Lake, said, “There are many jobs people aren’t willing to take and if it provides an income for them, I think it’s a good idea.”
Tony Ypias, a member of one of the Latino rights advocacy groups in Utah, say that the measure will face stiff opposition in California, but at the same time, it like sending a message to Congress. “It’s a good way for the states to let the federal government know that we need to have some changes out there,” Ypias commented.
On the other hand, those who are opposing illegal immigration say that it is a good way of controlling who is coming in and out of the country. Bruce Thunell, who oppose illegal immigration, said, “There is a huge problem there. We need to solve it one way or another. I think they should be legal, then I think it’s good. We welcome those workers to come in.”
For the part of Maria Machuca, the United Farmworkers Alliance spokesperson, she said, “The United Farmworkers is supportive of this legislation, because this would expand the rights of farm workers.”