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What is happening here?
Workers at Belle Harvest in Belding, MI get their temperatures checked before beginning their shifts hoeing fields for planting pickling cucumbers.
To protect farmworkers against coronavirus, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Orders 2020-137 and 2020-111 Unfortunately, compliance is spotty and enforcement is lax. At this farm, however, the orders are being followed to precision and the workers are well cared for. Most other sites are not as compliant. Workers have been sharing safety concerns about COVID-19 where they live, work and carpool or bus to work, all in close quarters. Reportedly hundreds of Michigan agricultural workers have tested positive, including some we represent.
#FiveForFarmworkers is our campaign providing COVID19 Farmworker Safety Kits to the migrant community. We did this throughout the asparagus season and will continue as Michigan's blueberries and cherries are harvested. If PPE, masks and safety information help save lives, then it's good know we've delivered 911 of them so far to our farmworkers, with help from you!. A $5 donation to our COVID19 Farmworker Safety Kit distribution delivers sanitized PPE to farmworkers, and includes blue surgical masks/cloth masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, and safety resource information and phone numbers specific to our migrant population.
You can help here
Summer Outreach, Socially Distanced
Our month of outreach in June flew by and we are surpassing last summer's camps visited this month. In only four weeks we have passed out 911 COVID19 Farmworker Safety Kits, spoken with 488 workers, and visited 199 camps!

The #FiveForFarmworkers fundraiser is continuing into the coming months. Thanks to everyone who donated $5 which buys one COVID-19 Farmworker Safety Kit with a masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and our legal information with safety literature specific to farmwork conditions. The safety kits are pre-sanitized and sealed before distribution, and re-sanitized after a no-contact delivery. Workers should be given masks by their employer but they quickly wear out and adequate replacements are not prevalent. #SpreadOnlyLove Here's how you can help .

Our adaptation to the COVID-19 pandemic includes new extended office hours, including phone and video consultations through WhatsApp, Facetime, and/or Zoom for tele-legal services. Clients will still have instant reliable access to attorneys and can text our office phone at (616) 303-1529 at any hour or call (616) 454-5055 until 10 pm.
Our Summer Interns
This Summer, we are excited to welcome team members who are dedicated to protecting Michigan's farmworkers.

Halsey Smith attends Middlebury College in Middlebury, VT. She is pursuing a joint major in Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies and Geography. She is interested in continuing her education and attending law school in the future. In her free time she enjoys running, spending time by Lake Michigan, and drinking coffee. Halsey is working on marketing, communications, and social media for Migrant Legal Aid and is grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of the team this summer!


Hope Kennedy attends the University of Michigan and will graduate with a double degree in History and Spanish in the spring of 2021. She plans on attending law school after a gap year. Hope's favorite part of her internship is seeing the positive impact Migrant Legal Aid and their outreach program has on the lives of Michigan's migrant farm workers.
Our Staff Members in the News
Migrant Legal Aid senior litigator and executive director, Teresa Hendricks, and our staff attorney, Ben O'Hearn, were interviewed during the month of June and quoted in articles revolving around the challenges that COVID-19 brings to migrant farm workers across the nation.

Read MiBiz's article called " Pandemic exacerbates concerns for migrant farm workers" to read what Teresa has to say here .

Read Rapid Growth's article called " Breaking down the unique challenges of Michigan's migrant farmworkers during COVID-19" to see Ben's interview here .

MLA is continuing to provide important information on how the pandemic is affecting those we are working to protect.
Cup of Justice 2020 and Silent Auction Recap
Due to safety concerns related to COVID-19, our annual Cup of Justice Fundraising event happened over two weeks from June 15 to the 26. It was a big success and although we could not be all together on one day, we still had many people enjoying The Mines golf course!

Our silent auction was moved online and we had it open for the same two week window. We had interesting experiences and items to bid on, donated from mostly local businesses.

Thank you to all our sponsors, players, and those who bid in our silent auction. Your support makes it possible for us to continue our mission of protecting the migrant farm workers of West Michigan!
Al Flores tees off with his foursome on a sunny morning at The Mines golf course in Grand Rapids, MI.
Why Do You Mask up?
We asked our staff why they feel it's important to mask up during the pandemic. Everyone has their reason, whether personal or public. MLA's Lupita Perales shows her reason in this photo. #MaskUp because you matter. #MaskUpMichigan Help Migrant Farmworkers Mask up here.
Show us why you mask up here
COVID-19 has presented challenges for Michigan's Census efforts. Many field operations have been postponed, making it more difficult for workers and volunteers to make face-to-face contact with residents to ensure an accurate count. However, adjustments are being made accordingly. The deadline to fill out Census 2020 is October 31 .

Migrant Legal Aid continues to be a Census Assistance Center. We are also including informational resources about the Census in the packets we hand out during outreach. If you or someone you know has questions about the Census, call us at (616) 454-5055 , or email Mary at mbennett@migrantlegalaid.org.
Governor Whitmer Extends Executive Order to
Protect Farm Workers
On June 1, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order mandating that employers take certain measures to protect their farm workers from COVID-19 which would include providing personal protective equipment (PPE), adjusting employer provided housing to allow for social distancing, providing more hand washing stations at work sites, and more.

On June 29, 2020, the governor extended the order through November 1, 2020, calling for protection of migrant farm workers through the end of the picking season.

Migrant Legal Aid supports Gov. Whitmer's efforts to protect farm workers, and we urge farm owners to do as much as possible to protect their workers' health and safety.

Click to read the updated executive order here.
Workers in Michigan pick asparagus in late June. The machine pickers ride does not allow individuals to be six feet apart from one another, adding to the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Farmworkers’ Union Sues State Agencies
Over COVID-19 Emergency Rules