Vista Hermosa Foundation supports a number of initiatives in the United States related to immigration, particularly as they impact rural communities and the lives of Latino, farm-working families.
- Local programs in the Vista Hermosa community: the foundation serves as the umbrella organization for New Horizon Daycare, Vista Hermosa Elementary and Camp Vista. Collectively, these programs serve over 200 young children of Latino, farm-working families by providing extended day, year-round programming that promotes parent involvement, cultural diversity, and service to community.
- Sending Communities in Mexico: recognizing that the majority of employees at Broetje Orchards have connections with home communities in Mexico, we have learned about the complex issues involved in driving migration between our two countries, including poverty, exploitation, and environmental degradation. We have developed relationships with communities in Mexico in an effort to improve economic well being for farmers, thus strengthening household income, food security, and long term stability. Through these efforts, we have seen family members return home to Mexico and engage in growing economic opportunities in their communities. Two communities we have been involved with include:
- National organizations advocating for immigration rights: to ensure justice and equality for all, Vista Hermosa Foundation supports organizations advocating for transformational leadership and change at the national level. Our involvement is informed by the following understanding.
- Of the one million people currently employed on US farms, over half are unauthorized. Most are denied legal paths to obtain proper documentation and thus live in a perpetual state of vulnerability, fear and abuse.
- Farm labor is skilled labor, requiring year-round employees with a wide range of technical expertise. But the H-2A guest worker visa – the only legal program for agricultural workers to obtain authorization – is ineffective, supplying only seasonal workers and meeting only 2-3% of the total workforce needed annually (National Council of Ag Employers).
- A wealth of evidence now proves that US citizens will not take farm jobs. Most recently the UFW “Take Our Jobs” campaign received over 10,000 inquiries; only nine people took jobs in the fields and most of them quit after a few days.
Current immigration policies are anti-family and anti-business, forcing families to separate and live in a permanent state of insecurity, and punishing employers without addressing their real labor needs.
We seek ways to move the conversation forward, supporting collaborative approaches to reforming the system so that workers may be treated fairly and justly and be recognized for the important role they play in our country.