Yesterday, I had a great conversation with Mary Jo Dudley about the important work she does, advocating for farmworkers through her program at Cornell. Mary Jo focuses on addressing the many problems facing farmworkers today, the most obvious being deportation fears and immigration issues. Over 4 million children born in the USA have 1 or more parent that is an illegal immigrant. Mary Jo’s organization educates the farmworker about how to fill out a form to assign another adult the legal responsibility of caring for their child, in the event of deportation. They also offer pro-bono legal counsel from many of their volunteer lawyers who work with them. Farmworkers are exempt from the National Labor Laws, so issues of overtime, and a day of rest, does not apply to them. Farm work can be dangerous, and the likelihood of a farm accident goes up greatly when people are over tired and have not had a day off. Often housing comes along with the job, so the worker is afraid to complain about poor living conditions, for fear of losing their job. Therefore, it is very easy for farmworkers to be exploited, because they have so much at risk. The Cornell Farmworker Program is providing a very important service, and I was so happy to learn more about what they do. If you missed the program you can listen to it here.