Black Americans Score Settlement Against U.S. Farms that Replaced Them with Foreign Workers
A group of black Americans settled their lawsuits against two United States farms for their having replaced them with foreign workers from South Africa that were imported on H-2A visas.
As Breitbart News reported in November 2021, a number of black Americans along the Mississippi Delta filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against their former employers — Pitts Farms and Harris Russell Farms — for laying them off only to replace them with white foreign H-2A visa workers from South Africa.
Data shows U.S. farms use the H-2A visa program to import cheaper foreign visa workers. The black Americans who filed the lawsuit claimed they were paid $7.25 to $8.25 an hour while their foreign H-2A visa counterparts were paid nearly $12 an hour.
The settlement, of which the terms have not been publicly disclosed, will send a message to employers looking to discriminate against Americans in favor of foreign visa workers, lawyers representing the black Americans suggest.
“These settlements are an important step and we are going to keep moving forward in an effort to eradicate these abuses throughout the Delta,” attorney Rob McDuff said in a statement.
Attorney Amal Bouhabib said “many other Delta farms are engaging in these unlawful practices” and she expects “more suits will be coming against those who do not pay fair wages to the local workers.”
The H-2A visa program allows U.S. farms to annually outsource an unlimited number of American jobs to foreign workers who can extend their stay for up to three years. The foreign families of H-2A visa workers can also come to the U.S. on H-4 visas.
In 1997, a little more than 16,000 foreign visa workers were imported to take American jobs on U.S. farms. By 2021, that number ballooned to a record 258,000 foreign visa workers — an increase in the H-2A visa program of more than 1,500 percent in less than 25 years.
“We look forward to continuing this campaign in the Delta and bringing some measure of justice to the workers who have been underpaid and mistreated for many years,” Mississippi Center for Justice President and CEO Vangela Wade said in a statement.