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Latino: Migrant Workers



We (as of 10/24/04) had 5 migrant workers that came to learn English after UMM's Spanish Club's weekly Sunday meeting @7pm-8pm. One of them told me that they plan to bring more next week (11/7/04). There are about 60+ total migrant workers working at both dairy farms (12 miles southwest of Morris close to Alberta and the other 10 miles south of Morris close to Hancock). Below is the report:

"Hi Steve and Ashley,

I personally thought tonight's first official class went well! I counted a total of 8-9 UMM Students/Tutors present in the beginning-started @8pm after the Spanish Club's regular get-togehter -(1 left at 8:30p and the second teacher left at 8:45p, but a new person-Mariela from Argentina came in to help for awhile) teaming together to teach 5 total "migrant" student (1 of 5 is Leo "the recruiter-the only non-Mexican" from Honduras, who has previously been here).

2 of the 5 students took the test-one did the Math and 1 did the English; however, both couldn't read it in Enlgish. Lisa and I ended up reading it (english and spanish), which they knew most or all of the answers.

I'll come in sometime this week at your office to show you the paper work. We told the UMM Students of the optional ESL class at the High School on Wednesdays if they wanted to help with you; however the "migrant" students/workers CANNOT attend Wednesdays. They will do their best to come on Sundays.

Thanks Ashley for helping recruit the UMM Student-teachers/tutors. One of them (Garret) has experienced teaching Enlish to Spanish-speaking elementary students in Argentina, who personally would like to add some of his own personal teaching techniques. Mariela (from Argentina) has previously taught this ESL class when it was around with Community Ed through the Assumption Catholic Church w/Father Lucho from Peru. We have a good group here!

Buenos Noches (9:40p)

P.S. Class recorded time 7:15p-9:30p for Sunday, October 24th

Yesterday (Thursday, November 4th 2004), I had the opportunity to learn more about the backgound of local migrant workers from Mexico.


I had a long 1+ hour chat with Refugio, who showed me some pictures of working (e.g. cleaning the foot) with cows and his 2 year old son. He is working very hard to support his family (wife and son) back in Mexico (east of Guadalajara).

I then asked the "popular question" of how many siblings he has, which one is expected to always hear an outstanding number. Refugio told me has 3 brothers (one is Saul, who also works at the dairy farm) and 2 sisters.

Traveling Work Experience

Refugio has the the privilege to work in various parts of the United States. One is Napa, California-where he told me this place has a large condensed population of Mexicans working in the farms. He told me that he enjoyed working outside in the beautiful weather. The other is in Johnson City(far north eastern side), Tennesee, where he worked in the tobacco fields. The other is in the midwest area-Chicago, which he washed dishes. He not only had the variety of geographic experience, but also the variety of work.

Other Stories:

While "interviewing" Refugio, I talked with another migrant worker (forgot name), who was quieter. He hasn't been in America as long as Refugio, which he just got here in the last week of September this year (only 2+ months). He told me has no kids, but a big family (6+ siblings).

A month ago when I chatted with the others, I learned that they get into the music culture back in Mexico. They showed me a variety (rap too) of music CD's in Spanish, which they played some of them for me.

They shared about their trips to Wilmar (1 hour southweast of Morris) and Montevideo (1 hour southwest) to visit other migrant workers. Leonardo once told me he went to help a guy who is stuggling with alcohol issues. As I write this, I can remember similar stories. Just yesterday, a co-worker of mine told me she met several of them at the local bar. She too was asked to teach English to them. Another story was 2 summers ago when a migrant worker contacted me by phone (I gave them my "business" card after they went to visit a friend's garage sale) asking me to help bail him out of jail. He got caught drinking and driving!

Avenamar is a college graduate, who is from the city/ciudad of Victoria [map] (north of Tampico), Tamaulipas. He is currently on his second year at the West Dairy Farm, which he was asked/invited to come back becuase of his high education. With his high education, he has a high level managerial position.

Tulio is from Saltillo (map of Saltillo), Coahuila State
Nicolas is from Tula, Tamaulipas
Sergio just arrived today (Sunday, March 6th 2005), who took a plane from Monterey to Atlanta to Minneapolis. He works as a veteranarian in a ranch around the Coahulia western area. He was introduced to me and Garret after the weekly Spanish Club at the University by Tulio and Nicolas Silva.

It's been almost over a month since having at least one migrant worker to come to class, so I went to help Steve at the M.A.H.S. on Wednesday, February 2nd of 2005. Suprisingly, one of them showed up! His name is Jose Arguelles, who has been coming here off and on. Jose is from Panuco [map], Vera Cruz (south west of Tampico). Wednesday, May 4th-He showed me his Instituto Federal Electoral card.
Osbaldo (met on Wed. March 28th of 2007) is from Aldama, Tamuaulipas
Miguel is from Tacambaro (located 2 hours southwest of the capitol) Michoacan

Keeping in touch with them regularly each week

One of the challenges is talking to them by phone, so I decided to come-up with a conversation piece:

"Hola___(name)____, como estas? Como fue trabajo?...Vienes a classes anoche-Domingo? Tienes tu un paseo? Llame cuando tu no tienes un paseo or unas preguntas tambien?

Dairy Farm Terminology

The migrant workers has been asking the tutors and me many terminology of the Dairy Farm field, so I decided to do some research:

  • Babcock Institute, for int'l dairy res and dev
  • Free Translation, translates words/message (awesome!)
  • Hispanic Resources: Outagamie-Wisconsin Extension Service
  • Meeting the Needs of Migrant Workers in our Community

    I was part of a community workshop that used the local migrant workers as an example of meeting their needs. This workshop came to reality as a challenge in applying what we learned. Below is a website that was developed from this...

    Needs of Migrant Workers

    Current Issues on "Illegal Immigrants"

    I'm not sure who I teach ESL to are legal or illegal, but I just know that they have documents to work here. I decided to do some re"search" on this issues..

  • Leahy pushes to help dairy farmers employ migrant workers, Published: Wednesday, April 5, 2006 By Erin Kelly Free Press Washington Writer (Vermont)
  • Center for Immigration Studies

  • -History
    "American agriculture continued to import seasonal labor from Mexico, as they had during the war, under a 1951 formal agreement between the United States and Mexico that made the Bracero Program permanent."
    -Guest Workers
    "Temporary workers, or guestworkers, are nonimmigrants who are admitted to the U.S., often for a considerable amount of time, to work for specific employers. Most often these workers are legally or practically unable to change the terms of employment or to switch employers and hence are, in effect, captive workers. American agriculture imports such workers via the H-2A program (and persistently seeks to expand and simplify the program), while in recent years America's high-tech industry has lobbied successfully for a series of increases in the annual allotment of H-1B visas used for skilled workers.
    As recently as 1981 there were only 44,000 temporary workers and trainees admitted to the U.S. By 1990, that number had grown to 139,000; and by 1996, 227,000. The total number of such workers present at any one time is in the hundreds of thousands.
    Farmers perennially claim that if they do not have either illegal aliens or captive guest workers, American agriculture could not function. But most agricultural economists agree that American agriculture could survive, indeed thrive, without either illegal workers or captive guest workers. Indeed, the artificial inflation of the low-skilled agricultural labor market has encouraged farmers to plant more labor-intensive crops and has retarded the technological progress of American agriculture. "

    "This is especially true of illegal immigration. Even though illegal aliens make little use of welfare, from which they are generally barred, the costs of illegal immigration in terms of government expenditures for education, criminal justice, and emergency medical care are significant. California has estimated that the net cost to the state of providing government services to illegal immigrants approached $3 billion during a single fiscal year. The fact that states must bear the cost of federal failure turns illegal immigration, in effect, into one of the largest unfunded federal mandates. "
    "Mexico is NOT a poor country. It has the fifth richest economy in the world, and by sending its teeming masses to our country, that status keeps on rising. Mexico has more resources per square mile than the U.S. and plenty of money to take care of its own people. Why should the taxpayers of this country subsidize Mexico's corruption? "-Myths & Lies on Illegal Immigration
    *I'm not sure where these facts are from, but Mexicio wasn't even in the top 20 according to


    Want to learn English or about the community of Morris?

    Come on Sundays at 7p to the University of Minnesota Morris

    or the

    Morris Area High School at 5:30p-8pm-anytime

    Call Salvador Monteagudo, Morris Literacy Project (English as a Second Language Classes) Coordinator at 320.585.5573 or cell phone 651.338.2929

    Tutors and students always needed spontaneously throughout the week


    ¿Aprender la necesidad inglés o acerca de la comunidad de Morris?

    Venga los domingos en 7p a la Universidad de Minnesota Morris

    o el

    La Preparatoria del Area de Morris en 5:30p-8pm-anytime

    Llame Salvador Monteagudo, Proyecto de capacidad de leer y escribir de Morris (inglés como una Clases de segunda Lengua) Coordinador en 651.338.2929 de 320.585.5573 o teléfono celular

    Los tutores y los estudiantes siempre necesitaron espontáneamente a través de la semana

    ESL Materials (Liberal Arts: English)

  • Scope & Sequence, for student and instructor from Marshall Adult Education (eg. Beginning ESL-Student)


  • Rosetta Stone, language learning software program

  • *we are currently using this to visually and audioably teach the students


    Alexandria's Literacy Project's Katy Mohbair came to Morris Area High School on Wednesday, November 17th of 2004 to teach 7 UMM Students from the Spanish Club. They are volunteering to teach ESL to local migrant workers.

    Notes: (money smart, etc...)

  • Teaching Tips
  • Everything ESL, from an experience teacher
  • ESL Cafe Idea Cookbook
  • Migrant Workers Program, teach ESL at U of Michigan
  • TESL : Teaching Tips and Ideas
  • Keynote speaker Fernando Chavez (bio)

    "...will speak at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 29, in Edson Auditorium of the UMM Student Center. An attorney, Chavez is the oldest son of Cesar Chavez and Helen Chavez. He has dedicated his career to carrying on his father's legacy through public interest work. Cesar Chavez, for whom a UMM campus street is named, was instrumental in the development of the National Farm Workers Association. This event is free and open to the public."-UMM Relations

    Related Resources:

  • Cesar Chavez Foundation
  • "El orador de tónica Fernando Chavez hablará en 7:30 de la tarde. El martes, el 29 de marzo, en la Sala de Edson del Centro de Estudiante de UMM. Un abogado, Chavez es el hijo más viejo de Cesar Chavez y Helen Chavez. El ha dedicado su carrera a continúa su legado de padre por el trabajo público del interés. Cesar Chavez, para quien una calle de campus de UMM se denomina, era instrumental en el desarrollo de la Asociación Nacional de Trabajadores de Granja. Este acontecimiento es libre y abierto al público"-en espanol


    This past Sunday (September 14th of 2008), I was invited by a friend (Eric B.) to his local church (Morris Evangelical Free Church) prayer gathering (at the "old" former "Hancock E-Free Church building"-they wanted to have it a location close to the people they are praying to "reach out" too) to "reach-out" to Latino: local migrant workers (mostly Mexican). We started with worship, shares from "guest speakers", prayer (Praise-"thank you God for...", Repentance-"forgive me/us for..", Ask-"we ask for..."), and fellowship (with snacks!) as a group.


    -Pastor Bob from Iowa
    He shared about the challenges (e.g. Some "Anglos" don't want anything to deal with the "Latino" community) of "Latino" and "Anglo" churches working together. They realized it's hard to just have one service for both the "Latino" and "Anglo" community residents. From past "trials", they hope to have separate sermons, worship, etc.. and then "come together" during children ministry (e.g. Sunday School) and/or "fellowship" gatherings.
    -Ben Green from Wilmar E-Free Church, who helps with the Spanish Ministry.
    He shared about a church he helped started reaching out to the "Latino" community of Wilmar. I'm not if it was Ben or Bob that shared this, but there is a "generational" difference amongst the "Latino" community. For example, there are "Hispanic-ethnic" churches that have services only in Spanish, but their "kids" (the next-generation) get "Americanized". They prefer going to an "all-English" service, which they sometimes don't attend. Thus, this particular "generation" needs to be reached too in a different way!

    Related Sites:
    Churches Should Stay Segregated, from (blog)
    "..No I totally agree with what you’re saying. I’ll write more on this later but I do believe there is a LOT of value in interacting with someone unlike you and who comes from a different culture than you and still being able to worship God together. I think that is great. That is a great biblical value.
    At the same time I do see the issue as much more complicated than: “The bible says diversity therefore multiethnic churches are the biblical ideal.” I see the value in multi-ethnic churches as an expression of diversity, but I also see the value of mono-ethnic churches as a expression of the same diversity. .."


    I had a great time meeting many folks (worked with at past "Picnic in the Park", Pastor Marlin-sp?, other community-related activities, and Nester-"Columbian-American"-husband of a student I've taught ESL too in the past; shared his personal testimony on our drive to Hancock) at this prayer gathering (will be the second Sunday of very month now on). It was awesome to see many hearts to "reach out to the Latino community (migrant workers).

    After the "informal"meeting, I e-mailed Pastor Marlin more information on the "Morris Literacy Project: ESL Classes serve as a Coordinator). Inviting his church to serve as a volunteer. I told him that our local church (Morris Community Church) had this prayer outreach topic just last Sunday-what a "coincidence"!

    I feel many churches in Morris or Stevens County are figuring out ways to "reach out to our fellow neighbors"-a mandate of the "Great CoMission"! They just need to be equipped, which I hope and pray to be used in this area. I feel "one" church congregation can't do it all by themselves. In which we "need" to be a county-community-wide outreach group as a "whole".



  • LawHelp Legal Information search results for Migrant Workers-Employment

  • Employment Law Guide --> Chapter: Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection


    Centro Campesino
    Contact Information:
    104 1/2 W Broadway St Apt 206,
    Owatonna, MN 55060
    Ph: 507-446-9599
    *referred from Nfwm


  • Minnesota Literacy Council
  • Stories

  • Concert for Centro Campesino, stories from southwestern MN


  • Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers: Health Insurance Coverage and Access to Care

  • "Nearly three million workers earn their living through migrant or seasonal farm labor. Migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their families confront health challenges stemming from the nature of their work, their extreme poverty and mobility, and living and working arrangements that impede access to health coverage and care. This brief provides an overview of migrant and seasonal farmworkers and the health challenges they face and considers options for improving their health coverage and access to care...


  • Sears Optical (espanol)
  • Organizations

  • Center for Immigration Studies
  • National Farm Worker Ministry, coalition of churches, community organizations, etc..
  • Resources

  • New Readers Press, online catalog and News For You newspaper
  • Stories


  • A Harvest of Hope Meet five Hispanic nurses who are making a difference in improving the quality of health care for migrant farm workers. (Minority Nurse)

  • -MISC
  • Annotated Bibliography of Fiction and Nonfiction on Migrant Farmworkers, from New York
  • Migrant Farm Workers, countless stories from all over!
  • Migrant Workers Personal Stories, from Virginia students
  • Wisconsin Stories: Passing Thru
  • Work Conditions


  • More Hispanics find a better job -- and a home From tobacco fields to businesses, they make a difference , from the Courier Journal
  • A Poisoned Culture: the case of the Indigenous Huicholes Farm Workers, from Indian Rights Center


  • Embassy World
  • Stories of "others"

  • Amid Ageing Population, Country Turns to Migrants, from Japan
  • "Bad Dreams-Exploitation and Abuse of Migrant Workers in Saudi Arabia, from Human Rights Watch
  • Migrant workers seek OWWA explanation for use of funds ,from Manila Times
  • Migrant workers sent home $167B last year, says UN, from Philippine Daily Inquirer
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