These 2 Latinas created a coalition to advocate for Immigrants and Farmworkers

Posted at 5:25 PM, Sep 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-12 11:36:07-04

During the Pandemic, farmworkers and the immigrant community were left without access to resources like funds, social services, and information due to a lack of available resources to the Spanish-speaking community in Idaho. This is how the Idaho Immigrant Resource Alliance got started.

"IIRA is important to me because I'm a former farm worker, and I worked on the farms for about 12 years. So for me to be able to give back to a community is so important and crucial," said Irene Ruiz, co-founder of the Idaho Immigrant Resource Alliance.

Irene Ruiz and Samantha Ruiz are the founders of IIRA. It was created by partnering with numerous organizations and forming an alliance with 11 nonprofits.

"By working together with already established organizations, we could collectively meet the needs of our undocumented immigrant community, and by working together, we can share resources and create solutions to a lot of the gaps that exist here in the state," said Samantha Ruiz, co-founder of the Idaho Immigrant Resource Alliance.

Currently, they are focusing on the impact of climate and how that impacts the working conditions of agriculture workers.

"We started the heat and smoke relief to support farm workers through the extreme heat and the smoking conditions they were working through," said Irene Ruiz.

Hispanics are believed to be 75% of Idaho's farm workers, and about 25% of Idaho's farm workers are believed to be undocumented. Many of these workers have below-poverty-line incomes leaving them without the resources to protect them through extreme weather conditions.

"We hope to continue doing this work, and we can move forward not by making policies for them but by them," said Samantha Ruiz.

The two plan to continue to help and advocate for farm workers and immigrants through the State of Idaho.