On Tuesday, NPR reported that migrant workers working for an apple farmer in Yolo County, Calif., had been told they had to choose between working for the farm or being vaccinated against flu virus.
Marty, who only wanted his last name used, explained that the farmer had contracted “a malady,” and his workers would either have to receive the vaccine or they wouldn’t be able to get paid.
Marty and eight other migrant workers said the individual described the illness as “flu” and added that the workers were only being offered the flu shot as a favor. But those working for the farm, instead of accepting the flu shot, were being told they must do without pay, but can receive theirs after being vaccinated. They were only being paid $6 per hour, instead of the standard $14.
He described the threat of deportation as well as mental and physical stress to NPR.
Marty said he initially came to the U.S. with one child in 2000 and the rest through a visa program through which he and his wife could stay in the country.
He now has two and his 16-year-old child is still an infant in the hospital, one month after giving birth prematurely.
“His family doesn’t work on the farm, and I can’t work there, either,” said Marti. “So I decided to drive to find work. I could be arrested.”
This story was originally published in The New York Times.