From AllGov.com, Noel Brinkerhoff, 9 Aug 2011.
It is commonly assumed in the United States that federal law prevents children from working like adults. For the most part this is true. But not when it comes to farming.
Ever since the Great Depression when the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 was adopted, requiring children to be at least 14 years of age to work outside the home, the agricultural industry has been exempted from this restriction. The result of this legal loophole is that about 400,000 children today work in American fields, performing backbreaking labor up to 12 to 14 hours a day, being exposed to toxic chemicals and earning below minimum wage.
Democrat Lucille Roybal-Allard of California wants to end this practice. The congresswoman has introduced the CARE Act (Children’s Act for Responsible Employment), which would raise the minimum age for farm workers to 14 and strengthen other laws to bring them more in line with other industries. First introduced in 2009, the bill has gained more than 100 co-sponsors.