Ivette's Testimony she recounted while lobbying for the Farm Workforce Modernization Act in Washington, DC (2019)
Undocumented dairy workers want to be noticed for all of the difficult labor they do; they want to live knowing they have the protection of not being deported. My husband has 20 years in the dairy industry and I have many years working in dairy as well. I have also worked packing melons, almonds. Working in dairy is heavy work –we take care of cows during their sickness, clip their nails, and care for them. This is heavy work; not a lot of people are willing to work in dairy.
For women in dairy, the simple fact of going to the restroom is hard. There are usually only restrooms for men and it’s uncomfortable. Men can urinate anywhere but women can’t do the same. I get to work with my husband so I ask him to walk me to the restroom because I don’t want to risk men telling me anything inappropriate.
Undocumented workers simply want to know they will have a sense of protection for themselves and their families. My husband has family working in dairy in Indiana, Colorado, and California many of who only have DACA and need permanent status. I am here to represent all dairymen and women who want their voices heard; they want to be counted and taken into consideration when discussing better work sites when discussing sexual harassment and want to have opportunities in agriculture.
Our work is so valuable in dairy that my husband was not able to drive me to the hospital the day I got my nose broken by a cow that kicked a door I was standing in front of. Instead, I had to call someone else to come to pick me up. Although I have legal status, I urge the support of the legislation because it's important. I hear stories of children who are separated from their parents because they never make it back home from work and begin to miss my 13-year-old son back home whom I’ve never been separated from. I have the privilege of being a citizen and I don’t run that risk of separation. I don’t benefit from this bill; my son, my husband, and all of my close family members have legal status but I put myself in the shoes of undocumented parents because it's important.
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