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Farm Labor Head Lobbies for Immigration Reform

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, Mo. – The president of a large farm labor group says it's imperative for the US to legalize the nine million undocumented immigrants working in this country.

Baldemar Velasquez with the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, a branch of the AFL-CIO, spoke Tuesday at several St. Louis area venues about the state of immigrant civil rights.

Velasquez says legalization would not only give workers greater access to public services it would also free them from a life of indentured servitude.

"For the worker it means you're in an exploitable situation. So we oppose anything that smacks of that, where the visa is tied directly to the employer who controls it. We want a portable visa, and those are the issues we've been pushing with Congress, and hopefully we'll get something through here," Velasquez said.

Velasquez says his group supports a federal bill that would eliminate human trafficking while helping local economies.

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