Politics & Society

The Fields of Immokalee: Swing State Florida, Episode 1

Immigrant Laborers and Florida's Agriculture

The fields of Immokalee lie two hours’ drive due west of Miami, down a sparse state highway that cuts through the swamplands of southern Florida. Crocodiles lurk just off to the side of the road. Street signs warn the driver to be alert for panthers.

For decades, migrant laborers have worked the fields of Immokalee harvesting tomatoes, green peppers, eggplants, oranges, and other produce that is then shipped across the United States of America. The backbreaking workday begins well before the sun rises and ends as it sets.

Many of the field workers are undocumented, and they are hoping to keep their jobs as federal immigration crackdowns hover over the town. “You can leave in the morning,” says Florencia, “but you just don’t know if you will be coming back in the evening.”

The Fields of Immokalee explores the daily lives of tomato pickers, from the 5:00 am trips to the parking lot in hopes of finding day labor, to work shifts in the scorching mid-day heat, to child detention centers for migrant youth that have been separated from their families.

Via these vignettes, the film offers insight into one of the most volatile political issues of recent elections.

Learn more at www.swingstateflorida.com.


Samuel George

Global Markets and Digital Adviser
Bertelsmann Foundation