Farm workers
United Farm Workers President Arturo Rodriguez leads workers in a march to City Hall in San Francisco Reuters/Robert Galbraith

Mirella Estrada has been picking chili peppers, eggplants and peppers in the U.S. for 18 years. She hopes a proposal by the Children Foundation and American Fraternity to grant undocumented Mexicans a humanitarian parole to regularize their status is accepted by the Biden administration.

"We Mexicans make up more than half of the farmworkers and we don't have any immigration benefits that would allow us to legalize our situation and get a work permit, so I think it's timely and fair that the government also consider us for some relief," said Estrada, who works as an organizer of activities with the Farmworkers Association of Florida, to The Latin Times.

That is why different Miami organizations asked President Joe Biden to grant a humanitarian parole and work permit to Mexicans that would allow them to live and work legally in the country without fear of deportation.

Talking to local media, Nora Sandigo, executive director of the Children's Foundation and American Fraternity, said that "Mexicans have been living in the country for many years, working, paying taxes,but they have been ignored from an immigration standpoint, leaving them in the shadows."

"It is a matter of justice, compassion and respect for Mexicans who, like other nationalities, have worked here for many years. This parole would bring them out of the shadows and put them on an equal footing with others" who have benefited from similar immigration relief, she said.

The National Center for Farmworker Health (NCFH) estimates that there are approximately 2.9 million farmworkers in the United States who support a $1.264 trillion agricultural industry. These workers travel and work throughout the U.S. Of these, 15% identify as migrants, while 85% are established farmworkers.

Estrada defines herself as a migrant worker within the U.S. because she works for the same agricultural company that grows crops in Florida and North Carolina. As for payment, she said it is not by the hour, but by what they harvest. "It depends a lot on the crops, but on a good day we can make between $80 to $100, but on a bad day we only make $20 to $ 30 and we don't even make enough for lunch," she said.

According to the 2019-2020 National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS), 63 percent were born in Mexico and are primarily concentrated in Chicago, Texas, California, and Florida.

The letter was accompanied by a petition from 39 members of Congress last July urging the U.S. president to grant parole and work permits to both new immigrants and long-term contributing immigrant workers, including DACA-eligible agricultural and essential workers.

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