Labor Notes # 458

Eli Porras Carmona had been coming to work planting and harvesting sweet potatoes in North Carolina for eight years when he got a call from Mexico. His wife needed emergency surgery and he had to return home.

Carmona works under the H-2A program, where thousands of guestworkers are granted temporary permits to work on farms in the U.S. for up to 10 months per year.

Many return year after year—and since guestworkers are tied to one employer, it’s risky to speak out on the job. The employer can easily send you home, or not call you back the next season.

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