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Migrant Farmworkers in US Continue to Toil Under Trump

IN PICTURES: About 10 percent of the estimated 1.3 million farm workers in the U.S. have an H-2A guest worker visa.

About half of U.S. crop workers are living undocumented in the country and more than two-thirds are foreign-born, according to the most recent figures from the U.S. Department of Labor's National Agriculture Workers' Survey.

Many farmers say they cannot find U.S. citizens willing and able to do the strenuous jobs they need to fill.

The one legal way to bring in seasonal foreign workers is a program known as H-2A, which many farmers complain is overly complex and costly. While use of the program has steadily increased over the past decade, it still accounts for only about 10 percent of the estimated 1.3 million farm workers in the country, according to government data.

But labor advocates have blasted the H-2A guest worker visa program as a license for employers to abuse workers' rights due to the transient nature of guest worker residency, which lacks a pathway to citizenship and doesn't allow for guest workers to organize into trade unions.

teleSUR takes a look at a day in the fields of some workers with H-2A visas in California. 

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A migrant farmworker with an H-2A visa harvests romaine lettuce in King City, California, U.S., April 17, 2017.
A migrant farmworker with an H-2A visa harvests romaine lettuce in King City, California, U.S., April 17, 2017. Photo:Reuters
Migrant farmworkers with H-2A visas harvest romaine lettuce in King City, California, U.S., April 17, 2017.
Migrant farmworkers with H-2A visas harvest romaine lettuce in King City, California, U.S., April 17, 2017. Photo:Reuters
Foreman Roberto Navarrete, 30, supervises migrant farmworkers with H-2A visas as they harvest romaine lettuce in King City, California, U.S., April 17, 2017.
Foreman Roberto Navarrete, 30, supervises migrant farmworkers with H-2A visas as they harvest romaine lettuce in King City, California, U.S., April 17, 2017. Photo:Reuters
Supervisor Sergio Marmalejo, 55, watches migrant farmworkers with H-2A visas, harvest romaine lettuce in King City, California, U.S., April 17, 2017.
Supervisor Sergio Marmalejo, 55, watches migrant farmworkers with H-2A visas, harvest romaine lettuce in King City, California, U.S., April 17, 2017. Photo:Reuters
Romaine lettuces grow in a field for harvest by migrant farmworkers with H-2A visas in King City, California, U.S., April 17, 2017.
Romaine lettuces grow in a field for harvest by migrant farmworkers with H-2A visas in King City, California, U.S., April 17, 2017. Photo:Reuters
The wheel on a truck is seen next to lettuce as migrant farmworkers with H-2A visas harvest romaine lettuce in King City, California, U.S., April 17, 2017.
The wheel on a truck is seen next to lettuce as migrant farmworkers with H-2A visas harvest romaine lettuce in King City, California, U.S., April 17, 2017. Photo:Reuters
Mexican migrant farmworkers Jesus Martin Ley Lugo, 27, (R) and Rogelio Garcia Parria, 20, who both have H-2A visas, eat during a break while harvesting romaine lettuce in King City, California, U.S., April 17, 2017.
Mexican migrant farmworkers Jesus Martin Ley Lugo, 27, (R) and Rogelio Garcia Parria, 20, who both have H-2A visas, eat during a break while harvesting romaine lettuce in King City, California, U.S., April 17, 2017. Photo:Reuters
Migrant farmworkers with H-2A visas walk to take a break after harvesting romaine lettuce in King City, California, U.S., April 17, 2017.
Migrant farmworkers with H-2A visas walk to take a break after harvesting romaine lettuce in King City, California, U.S., April 17, 2017. Photo:Reuters
Migrant farmworkers with H-2A visas put on gloves after traveling from their labor camp to the fields to harvest romaine lettuce before dawn in King City, California, U.S., April 17, 2017.
Migrant farmworkers with H-2A visas put on gloves after traveling from their labor camp to the fields to harvest romaine lettuce before dawn in King City, California, U.S., April 17, 2017. Photo:Reuters
Foreman Roberto Navarrete, 30, supervises migrant farmworkers with H-2A visas as they harvest romaine lettuce in King City, California, U.S., April 17, 2017.
Foreman Roberto Navarrete, 30, supervises migrant farmworkers with H-2A visas as they harvest romaine lettuce in King City, California, U.S., April 17, 2017. Photo:Reuters
A migrant farmworker with an H-2A visa harvests romaine lettuce before dawn in King City, California, U.S., April 17, 2017.
A migrant farmworker with an H-2A visa harvests romaine lettuce before dawn in King City, California, U.S., April 17, 2017. Photo:Reuters
Foreman Roberto Navarrete, 30, supervises migrant farmworkers with H-2A visas as they harvest romaine lettuce in King City, California, U.S., April 17, 2017.
Foreman Roberto Navarrete, 30, supervises migrant farmworkers with H-2A visas as they harvest romaine lettuce in King City, California, U.S., April 17, 2017. Photo:Reuters
A migrant farmworker with an H-2A visa harvests romaine lettuce in King City, California, U.S., April 17, 2017.
A migrant farmworker with an H-2A visa harvests romaine lettuce in King City, California, U.S., April 17, 2017. Photo:Reuters
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