Yesenia’s Story

Rumors spread on Facebook and other social media after Hurricane Florence caused the Neus River to flood, saying federal immigration authorities were parked in a local Wal-Mart parking lot, said Yesenia Cuello. “Of course, [immigrant farmworkers] stayed away” — even though the store was the main source of food and water for many in the area after the storm. Photo: Jesse Pratt Lopez/100 Days in Appalachia

Yesenia Cuello worked in tobacco fields when she was a teenager, and now helps farmworkers as program director at NC Field, a North Carolina-based nonprofit organization.

She says immigrant farmworkers are vulnerable during and after extreme storms whether they have a temporary, H-2A visa or not, for reasons ranging from not speaking English to being afraid of running across federal immigration authorities.

Video Produced by Jesse Pratt Lopez

This story is part of Unseen, a series exploring how climate change related severe storms are impacting immigrant workers in southern Appalachia. Read more from the series here.

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