Free «Migrant Farmworkers» Essay Sample

Migrant Farmworkers

Migrant farmworkers work and live in almost every state of the United States with their families. Several of these employees are citizens of the United States. They are basically of the Mexican origin, but several others originate from Haiti, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Honduras, as well as other nations. Annually, approximately three million migrant farmworkers leave their homes of origin and move to the US to plant, harvest, and pack nuts, fruits and vegetables. Other migrant farmworkers are engaged in the dairy, fishing, and meat packing industries. Therefore, they are crucial to the United States food security. Despite the fact that the country relies on them in order to provide food to the final consumer, these employees face exploitation, inadequate basic rights, and experience fear to the extent that they do not expose these abuses. Therefore, the hopes and dreams of making a better living in the United States instead of their own nations of origin is sufficient for the migrant farmworkers to make such a huge sacrifice.


A great number of farmworkers have solid agricultural skills based on sensible knowledge and experiences. Such experience is harmonized by a robust work ethic, intensely rooted in their willingness to care for their families. It is revealed in the commitment to make substantial sacrifices in an effort to secure a more thriving future for their families. These sacrifices include separation from their nations of origin, their children, and siblings. Moreover, it is common for them to move to a foreign territory with its foods, customs, language, and culture that is unusual and different from their own. In several cases, this new place causes feelings of isolation and alienation as the farmworkers are restricted to the farm, which do not have a legal status, and where there is no access to transport, neighborhood businesses, and community services and activities. The fear of being revealed and captured by the Immigration and Naturalization Service officers due to lack of documented status makes them hide in the communities they work in. Consequently, in most instances, migrant farmworkers work in conditions that do not reflect the general situation of the majority of the working people in the US.

Pull aspects within the United States include the continuing wish for low cost labor force to occupy the positions that are less attractive to the citizens of the US due to the limited benefits, low pay, and poor working conditions. One major issue affecting the lives of the migrant workers is the inadequacy of legal status in the US as compared to other immigrants who arrived earlier. It is caused by the fact that they have not yet been provided with legal approval to live in the country. The undocumented status of a huge number of laborers has led to an escalating unfairness and mistreatment related to them. The examples of such situations include low standard and inadequate housing, deprivation of possibility to be protected by labor regulations and laws, violence experienced from the members of the prevailing culture, substandard education of the farmworkers’ children, etc. Nevertheless, most of farmworkers remain silent and do not report the cases of such abuses due to fear of deportation. As a result, they remain a disenfranchised group due to lack of political pull.

Owing to the remote agricultural work setting, migrating labor force, cultural obstacles, language, and immigration status, little consistent information is available concerning the farmworkers with regards to their health. It is believed that the immigrant farmworkers experience intense occupational exposures and risks, and that their life expectancy is shorter than average. Very often, they have to deal with extensive health issues as compared to other groups, but still they have access to little or no access at all to health education, health care, and other related services. Consequently, they tend to visit health providers only in case of emergencies and, in most situations, do not receive preventative or routine health care. Other specialized services, such as HIV awareness and education, treatment and prevention, substance abuse, and mental health services are not available for them at all. In spite of these challenges, farmworkers are extremely resilient.

Karl Marx, in his work Capital, analyzed the capitalist order where he tried to exhibit the lines along, which capitalism was extending. He stated that there was no place for small producers and that they were meant to vanish with time and with progress in capitalism. He went ahead in Volume III of Capital, where he expressed some fears concerning the future of the laborers under capitalism. According to Marx, agriculture turns out to be a branch of industry completely governed by capital. When capitalism overcomes agriculture, the key feature of Marx, which is the exploitation of the working class, can be applied.

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According to Marx, at present, there are great changes in the field of agriculture as compared to the past, as there is a tendency now to replace the peasants with the wage-laborers. Therefore, the desire for social alterations and the class oppositions are adjusted to equal degrees in the urban centers. By uniting the population in centers and causing an ever-increasing prevalence of urban population, the capitalist agriculture, on the one hand, accumulates the historical power of society and, on the other hand, negatively results the issue of interaction between the soil and man, thereby defying the conditions essential to enduring fertility of the soil. By this action, it devastates the health and well-being of the urban workers and the logical life of the rural workers.

In modern agriculture, for example, in the manufacture industry, the alteration of production under the influence of capital implies the negative effects on the producer. In addition, the mechanism of the worker turns out to be the way of exploiting, enchaining and depriving the worker. The social amalgamation and arrangement of labor procedures is turned into a planned technique of devastating the worker’s freedom, independence, and vitality. In addition, all advancements in capitalistic agriculture are a development in the art, not just meant for robbing the worker, but of depriving the soil. The more a nation tries to grow on the basis of modern industry, as in the case of the United States, the faster is its course of annihilation. Therefore, capitalist production, advanced technology, and the merging of several procedures into a social whole, results in depleting the key source of all wealth, which, in this case, is the worker and the soil.

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Karl Kautsky, on the other hand, in his concept of the Agrarian Question started with an acknowledgement of the present fundamental difference between the courses of capitalist growth in industry and in agriculture. That agriculture does not advance according to the prototype in industry, but is a subject to the exceptional laws. Further, he claimed that there are branches of agriculture, where the small productions can effectively compete with the huge productions. Therefore, large-scale production caused by industrialized agriculture is greater than small-scale production. According to Kautsky, industrialization of agriculture resulted in dissolution of the old peasant family. Moreover, the growth of peasants’ requirement for cash was accompanied by a similar advancement and development in the desires of their exploiters.


In conclusion, there is a need for a complete overhaul of the immigration system in an effort to convey justice to migrant farmworkers. It implies altering the existing system, while also stopping the further criminalization of immigrants. Such low quality immigration system does not recognize the individuals who struggle to deliver food to restaurants and grocery store shelves. If the system is not improved, the abuse and exploitation of farmworkers will continue, the agricultural sector will lack a steady workforce, and the well-being of the nation with regards to food security will be in danger.


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