Community Opinions

COMMUNITY OPINION: Charity provides legal help for our agriculture workers

Mary Zanger writes that she hopes agriculture workers are provided a path to citizenship.

This community opinion was contributed by resident Mary Zanger. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors.


Now that San Benito County officially resides in an emergency drought situation we all are involved as reduced agriculture acreage affects all of us: less and expensive healthy fruit and vegetables, jobs, income, economy and water shortage. 

As this drought begins another may be ending, I am thinking of the drought of care and concern for our essential agriculture workers as they become vulnerable to loss of income.  This lengthy dry spell for them left in legal limbo is being remedied by Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County who are sponsoring the first flood of information with citizenship applications and free legal assistance. 

Imagine the difficulty of being needed for employment yet un-needed for personhood, needed by the state wherein one lives to supply food for all, yet rejected for simply existing.  Robotic treatment defines a stateless person.  The un-citizen can be poorly housed and poorly paid.  Yet help is available now.

Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County sponsored an event on May 22 at Rebecca’s Childrens Center in Gilroy to help Green Card holders apply for citizenship.  I hope another is planned as this was like a giant Teddy Bear warm hugging countless men and women working and living in shadows for years.   

This drought of our lack of concern, compassion and humanity, has harmed others.  Non-citizens experience disadvantages and discriminations. Now is the time to correct this injustice and provide paths to citizenship to those who have contributed to our well-being and economy for decades.


Mary Zanger, Retired Pharmacist



Mary Zanger

I came to San Benito County as a bride and helped build out the Zanger family businesses, best known as Casa de Fruta on Highway 156. In the off seasons, I worked as a pharmacist in downtown Hollister. Now my work focuses on nudging my community to remember the power of fairness and justice that promote peace.