This afternoon we met with Eamonn Roach, an immigration attorney in Washington. He gave a brief overview of immigration law and policy of the 21st century. One of the major points that he brought up that stuck with us was the lack of major immigration policy change since the 1980s and the Reagan administration. It is sad to see the times changing, and yet the laws of the land haven’t. This lack of adaptation has left millions of people in the dust, particularly Latino farmworkers. The lack of change and modernization of the system has also created a huge backlog for migrant applications for visas and green cards, creating uncertainly and unneeded stress in the lives of the applicants and their families for several years. This is unhealthy for the migrants that are seeking refuge, better jobs, or opportunities for better lives for them and for their families.
Earlier in the day, we got the chance to tour Inaba Farm. This farm is owned by a third-generation United States citizen with Japanese descent. They grow both conventional and organic produce, and they even let us take home some squash, onions, and watermelon. Inaba Farm was one of the first farms in the region to build housing for their workers, which was a nice change of pace from what you hear in the news. The owner taught us that you can make a profit off your investments without ripping off or mistreating your workers. After our lunch break, we did volunteer work at the Northwest Harvest food bank distributor, and we packed nearly 2500 pounds of pears, which will feed 1861 people. We felt an overwhelming sense of joy for providing food to families in need, but we also felt disgusted by the fact that so many people cannot afford to buy adequate food for their families.
-Jordan Duran and Saron Mekonnen