California's Central Valley, Part 4
In the final installment in our series on California's Central Valley, NPR's Richard Gonzales reports that working conditions for farm workers have not improved much in the last 50 years. Half of the valley's farm laborers are illegal immigrants, and they work for farm labor contractors and growers who take advantage of their illegal status. The system creates vague lines of responsibility for how and whether workers are paid and who is responsible if someone gets hurt. Ultimately it creates an underclass of low-skilled workers who -- unlike immigrants in the past -- have little chance to improve their lives.
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