November Prayer Partner: Give Thanks for Immigrants

 In Prayer Partner

Dear friends,

Next week, most of us are likely to sit down with our families or friends for a celebratory Thanksgiving dinner, thanking God for His provision and blessings. But most of us are not particularly thankful that the food items that make up that meal – from turkey to green beans to apple pie – are likely to cost significantly more this year than they did at this time last year, as a result of significant inflation in the cost of food items.

Having worked in agriculture for the past quarter century, I know that a significant factor in the rising costs of food is related to labor shortages. The U.S. agricultural system has long benefitted from the hard work of individuals born outside of the United States, who compose as much as 73% of crop farmworkers nationally. The apples and berries picked on the farm I help lead in Yakima, Washington are mostly picked by immigrant hands – but there aren’t enough people applying for this vital, physically demanding work to meet demand, and though we know there are many around the world who would be eager to do this work, there are often insurmountable legal barriers to their entry to the U.S.

As you gather around the Thanksgiving table next week, I hope you’ll join me in thanking God for the immigrants who help bring food to our table throughout the year.

And I also hope that you’ll advocate for these farmworkers. Last year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill known as the Farm Workforce Modernization Act that would reform an antiquated guest worker program for farmworkers as well as create an earned legalization process for farmworkers who are undocumented.

In the wake of an election that demonstrated just how thoroughly divided we are as Americans, the ideas behind this bill are wildly popular, across partisan lines: 78% voters said in an August poll that they wanted Republicans and Democrats to work together this year to pass immigration reforms to ensure a legal, reliable agricultural workforce. Among evangelical Christians like me, the level of support was even higher – 81%.

But with just a few weeks before a new Congress is sworn in, it remains to be seen if the U.S. Senate will pass this bill – or if the bill will even be introduced and voted upon. I’d encourage you to use this simple tool to encourage your Senators to pursue bipartisan immigration reforms this year.

I’d also ask you to pray for farmworkers throughout our country, that God would bless them and provide for them. That they would know the God who created them and loves them. And that our nation would be grateful – not just on the fourth Thursday of November, but throughout the year – for those on whose labor we all depend.

The Evangelical Immigration Table will host its monthly virtual prayer call next Monday, November 21 at 4 PM ET/3 PM CT/2 PM MT/1 PM PT. I’d encourage you to join us then on Zoom or add this call to your calendar so you’ll remember to join this time of corporate prayer for farmworkers and other immigrants.

In Christ,

John Erb
Chief Operating Officer, Roy Farms

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