Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Social, Behavioral & Global Studies


Global Studies

First Advisor

Richard Harris

Second Advisor

Ajit Abraham


This report provides a California case study of both the national and larger global issues associated with migrant farmworker healthcare. I chose to focus on the state of California because it has long been home to the largest number of immigrants in the United States and nearly 34 percent of California’s labor force is comprised of immigrants. Furthermore, California is a perfect place to focus on migrant farmworkers specifically because of the thriving agricultural industry that is based in California, making it the number one producer and exporter of agriculture. For over 50 years, the men and women working in California’s agriculture have helped make it the nation’s number one producer and exporter of agricultural goods. The irony is that a majority of the workers who have helped the United States become the world’s largest food exporter are foreign born, and as a result do not equally benefit from the country’s success in which they have helped generate. Without this massive migrant labor force working in agriculture, the United States would not be able to maintain their status as the world’s number one agricultural producer. California produces labor-intensive crops and the comparatively low wages for this work does not attract sufficient native-born labor from the urban center of California, therefore California’s agricultural industry relies greatly on low wage immigrant labor. When immigrants arrive in the US, they are exposed to a healthcare system that differs from the system they are familiar with in their native countries. Navigating this new and intricate system is especially difficult for immigrants of low income and education who are likely to face economic and systemic barriers to care.