EL CENTRO, Calif. - Author Gabriel Thompson said his new book Chasing the Harvest documents the fear of deportation that weighs down on farm workers.
“As I go and sort of do event like these in the communities that are farm worker communities, it’s impossible to not notice the general fear that folks have,” Thompson said during Wednesday’s book presentation in El Centro, part of his California book tour.
“Right now, I believe the rhetoric around Mexican immigrants is very dehumanizing,” Thompson explained.
In his book, seventeen farm workers tell their own stories.
“We’ve got people from the Salinas Valley, the Coachella Valley, Central Valley and, of course, here in the Imperial Valley.”
He said the theme of fear of deportation is a common thread among them, and made reference to the current president’s immigration policies.
“We’re talking about Trump a lot, because they’re very fearful of what might happen,” Thompson said.
Marlene Thomas, El Centro resident and human rights activist, who recently organized a march in support of a man who was deported, agrees there’s fear in the community.
“They know that they are subject to be stopped, snatched, and taken across the border,” Thomas said.
Thompson added the book is also a chance to see the farm worker from a different angle.
“To hear from people who have lives just as complicated and as interesting and as full of challenges, but also joy as them,” Thompson said.
Event organizer Gretchen Laue said the book is all about good, hardworking people that have made the country a great nation.
“And I don’t think there’s any country in the world that doesn’t want good people who want to make the world a better place,” Laue said.