Tomatoes rotting in Alabama farmer Brian Cash's field after his 65-strong workforce vanished to avoid the immigration crackdown Photograph: Ed Pilkington/Guardian
Farmworkers run the gamut of being U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents, seasonal laborers on special guest worker visas, or undocumented workers. Most are affected by immigration status; it is estimated that at least 6 out of 10 of our country's farmworkers are undocumented (Southern Poverty Law Center).
Or, approximately 60% or more of the U.S. farm workforce is undocumented. Using these estimates, roughly 1.2 million to 1.75 million farmworkers are undocumented, and about 750,000 to 1.3 million farmworkers are United States citizens or lawful immigrants. (Farmworker Justice)
Living conditions for Farmworkers often lack essential utilities. They live in out-of-the-way rural areas without transportation, and because of their immigration status, they are vulnerable to discrimination and collective harassment. Their work is physically demanding, put in long hours, and lack access to clinics and educational opportunities, and in many cases, they must pay exorbitant rents for substandard housing.
Their lives resemble sharecroppers except, instead of being tied to an absent landowner's property, they are linked to the seasons and follow the crops - but still under the thumb of ruthless capitalism - something to consider the next time you have a salad or piece of fresh fruit.