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California's Central Valley, Part 4

In the final installment in our series on California's Central Valley, NPR's Richard Gonzales reports that working conditions for farm workers have not improved much in the last 50 years. Half of the valley's farm laborers are illegal immigrants, and they work for farm labor contractors and growers who take advantage of their illegal status. The system creates vague lines of responsibility for how and whether workers are paid and who is responsible if someone gets hurt. Ultimately it creates an underclass of low-skilled workers who -- unlike immigrants in the past -- have little chance to improve their lives.

Copyright 2002 NPR

Richard Gonzales
Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.