Pope backs migrant farm workers as Italy mulls legalization

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis is calling for migrant farm workers to be treated with dignity amid the coronavirus crisis. He issued an appeal as Italy weighs whether to legalize undocumented workers amid a shortage of seasonal farm labor due to the emergency. While migrants are not testing positive for the virus in great numbers, they have seen their precarious, off-the-books work dry up because of Italy’s lockdown. Farm lobby groups and some Italian lawmakers and ministers have warned that the spring and summer harvests are at risk because Italy’s usual seasonal workers, many of whom live in Eastern Europe, are stuck at home because of virus travel restrictions.