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Sanders courts Hispanic vote with lengthy ad on agricultural workers

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign is out with a new ad to air on the Spanish-language cable network Univision highlighting the exploitation of agriculture workers in Immokalee, Florida.

Running 5 minutes 22 seconds, the ad is shot documentary-style, drawing viewers into the story of Udelia Chautla, a mother and a fieldworker who faced abuses -- both physical and economic -- on the Immokalee fields when she first moved there from Mexico and began picking tomatoes for "American salads."

Breaking the mold of a traditional 30-second campaign ad, this ad will not be cut into a shorter version after it airs on TV. It will air nationwide on Univision on Thursday night. It will then target areas where there is a large Hispanic population and where immigration remains an important issue. On the following Wednesday night, it will air in full in Chicago, Miami and Orlando. The following week, it will air in Tucson, Arizona.

The ad opens with the Florida fields and transitions into a shot of Chaula's daughter. "I will always fight. As long as I can see my children happy and well, I will continue fighting to provide them with the best," Chautla says in Spanish as she touches her daughter on the shoulder, picks her up and brushes her teeth. There are English subtitles.

She calls her three children the "motor that drives my life." But getting by was not easy when the conditions were so horrendous - sometimes she did not make enough to buy her children food. With tears in her eyes, Chautla explains that her bosses didn't "understand what we have to live through."

"There were cases of bosses abusing workers," Chautla says about working in the fields of southern Florida. "They would not provide workers with water or restrooms. The bosses would get angry because some of the men wouldn't want to keep working and start hitting them. At night, I would cry sometimes because what you earn isn't enough. It affected my children because I didn't have enough to buy food."

Sanders visited Immokalee to see these conditions in 2008 and worked to improve them for the workers there.

After Sanders' visit, he invited leaders of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to Washington to testify during a Senate committee hearing regarding abusive labor practices.

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Sanders is not a constant voice throughout the ad, but halfway through he begins telling about his trip to the fields. He ends in posing a question.

"But how many more Immokalees are there?" Sanders says as the video closes. "How many fields or factories are there? We have to ask ourselves 'who benefits from this exploitation?' And to understand that it is not only the Immokalee workers who suffer but every worker in America because that pushes us in a race to the bottom."

As a result of Sanders taking action, Chautla says that workers' rights and worker support in Immokalee has increased.

Sanders is a proponent of raising the minimum wage, nationally, to $15 an hour by 2020.

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