Michigan Civil Rights Commission monitors conditions for migrant workers
Caroline MacGregor October 4, 2012 | WGVU
Migrant and seasonal
farm workers provide this state with an invaluable service during harvest
season but not without a cost. In response to the plight of migrant workers
facing sub-standard living and working conditions, the Michigan Civil Rights
Commission has been working with state agencies to improve the lives of migrant
workers in Michigan.
report released in early 2010 after an investigation by the Michigan Civil Rights
Commission into conditions faced by migrant workers, 15 recommendations were
made to tackle problems that included unsafe housing, discrimination, and
difficulty accessing various services due to a language barrier and
Many migrant workers find
it challenging to get drivers’ and marriage licenses at some Secretary of
State’s offices, and face difficulty interacting with health care providers,
county clerk offices, police and hospitals.
agriculture the second largest industry in Michigan, the Commission ordered the
investigation, in part, to ensure Michigan growers have a dependable supply of
Flores, Director of the Community Relations Division of the Department of Civil Rights, says they have resolved two big recommendations
stemming from the report including increasing the number of inspectors to investigate
camps where migrant workers stay and conduct an official population count of
seasonal workers in Michigan. More than 90,000 migrant and seasonal farm workers
and their dependents travel to the state each year.
As far as
help with services Flores says they work closely with the Sec of State. Migrant
workers find it difficult to get a driver’s license, especially those who are
not yet considered legal.
“the issues come in”
Flores also says
they work closely with police in terms of stops and how to work with seasonal
workers coming from Texas or Florida. The Commission says it continues to
implement recommendations to improve the working and living conditions for
migrant workers in Michigan. They plan to release a follow up report on the 15 recommendations on March 13th, 2013.
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