As the summer season kicks into high gear, and we all enjoy delicious local food and wine in our homes and in East End restaurants, let’s not forget that our meals are in large part produced by migrant workers.
And those workers, in many areas of our country, are subject to sweeps by ICE that result in non-violent migrant laborers being deported and their children, some of them American-born, being separated from them. This heinous practice harms our most industrious residents, our migrant workers, who give back so much to us in terms of our basic needs and quality of life.
As many have documented, the farming, winemaking, and hospitality industries would not be able to function without migrant labor, since most Americans will not take menial positions in those trades.
Current laws on the books for farming protect any American citizen who might want a job in that industry. Those laws even require farms to hire qualified Americans first and to replace any migrant worker with a qualified American who might want a field job.
So, as we gather round our tables to break bread this summer, let us thank the migrant workers who make it possible for us to do so. And let us make an effort to ask our legislators and representatives to protect them, so that they do not have to live in fear and we can continue to enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor.
Katherine Liepe-Levinson and Martin H. Levinson
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