Immigrants and Monterey County

$8 billion dollar agricultural industry and $2.5 billion dollar tourism sectors are at risk

Linda Fosler, Community Leader of COPA (Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action) Speaks on Immigration

The economy of the Central Coast is highly dependent on an immigrant workforce, particularly for the agricultural economy. Ranking 3rd in the state, Monterey County agricultural production is valued at over $4 billion. The ag economy depends on field workers, drivers and processing plant workers. Because seasonal field work pays on average $8/hour, most field workers move on to other jobs after a decade, and the children of farm workers are encouraged to pursue other jobs.

Because of these dynamics, the agricultural industry is dependent on a constant flow of workers who are attracted to the U.S. for jobs that pay considerably more than their home countries. Federal immigration policy determines whether these workers are legally documented or not. Over half the agricultural workforce is undocumented.  (Source: “Immigration Reform: What Does it Mean for Agriculture and Rural America?” by Phillip Martin and Linda Calvin, in Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, 2010 vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 232-253).

When undocumented immigrants move out of fieldwork, they find jobs in the Central Coast tourism industry in hotels and restaurants, food service and construction. Many work as day laborers, landscapers, child care providers and housecleaners in the informal job market meeting a local market demand for their labor.

COPA leaders seek immigration reform that is consistent with the economic realities of our region recognizing our dependency on immigrant workers and therefore, providing them in exchange, opportunities to live with the rights and responsibilities of legal residency and citizenship. We seek strategies that “welcome the stranger” as articulated in the Jewish and Christian traditions of our members and recognize that God has created us in His image, and therefore, we are worthy of living with dignity, no matter our legal status.

Check out our new menu:

Spinach Salad: Grilled chicken,dried cranberries, goat cheese, apple, red onion – roasted shallot vinaigrette

Vegetarian Spinach Salad: Dried cranberries, goat cheese, apple, red onion – roasted shallot vinaigrette

Pulled Pork: Smoked pork, sweet tangy BBQ sauce – ciabata bun, served with coleslaw

Alma’s Ahi Tuna Sandwich: Tomato – avocado – ginger garlic – wasabi aioli, served with french fries

About Linda Fosler

Linda built a 45 year career in the computer and related industries. She was a member of the Corporate Engineering Department of Hewlett Packard, Manager of Software Engineering for Tandom Computers, Vice President of Software Quality at Cadence Design Systems, Vice President of Marketing for IKOS Systems and Director of Marketing for the Deep Sub micron Division of Mentor Graphics. During an eight year period of independent consulting Linda worked primarily with high technology startups. Throughout her career Linda devoted time to a number of charities and activist causes including Suicide Prevention, Rape Crisis Hotline and Court Appointed Special Advocates for Foster Children.

Upon retirement from high technology in 2014 Linda became Executive Director of Court Appointed Special Advocates of Monterey County and served in that post until 2016. Today Linda is the Chair of the Mental Health Commission of Monterey County, serves as a Mentor to Social Entrepreneurs through GSBI and Santa Clara University, serves on the Board of Directors for Rotary Downtown Salinas, and is a local leader in the community organizing activity COPA. Linda remains an active Court Appointed Special Advocate for foster children. Currently Linda is completing a long interrupted Bachelor of Science Degree in Business with a minor in Computer Technology and will soon begin a Masters of Business Degree with a concentration in Management and Leadership.

An avid gardener and yoga practitioner Linda is married, the mother and step mother of 6 grown children and grandmother of 10. Linda lives in Monterey with her husband, 3 cats and a few very opinionated chickens.

Special thanks to the County of Monterey for its ongoing support of the Monterey County Business Council’s efforts for economic development and education.


February 09, 2018
11:45 am to 1:30 pm
Bayonet & Black Horse Golf Club
1 McClure Way
Seaside, CA 93955