By CHERYL SCHWEIZER, For the Basin Business Journal
CASHMERE — The Washington Wine Industry Foundation recently donated $15,000 to an organization that provides legal services to immigrants and their families.
The money was presented to the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project at an event Sept. 13 in Benton City. The group helps immigrants in Washington and their families, who are trying to navigate the U.S. immigration system.
“Labor is problem number one of the wine industry today, and anything we can do to help our workers benefits both the workers and the industry,” said Mark Wheeler, foundation chair. He credited “the generosity of our donors,” allowing the foundation to contribute to NWIRP.
“Access and shortages are the leading issues for Washington’s laborx intensive agriculture,including the grape and wine industry,” said a
[caption id="attachment_2262" align="alignright" width="269"] Courtesy photo - Washington Wine Industry Foundation chair Mark Wheeler (right) presents a donation check to Jorge Baron, executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.[/caption]
press release from the foundation. “Access to the services NWIRP provides is critical.” The group helps immigrants deal with the challenges of finding housing, medical assistance and other basic services.
The money will be used to support legal assistance and community education for workers in the Yakima Valley, said Jorge Baron, the group’s executive director. “This work helps immigrant families learn about their options under immigration law, and helps them access protections that may be available. The goal is to preserve family unity and to ensure individuals and families are protected from violence.”