$8M for housing for immigrant dairy workers in Dane County approved

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José Rodríguez and his son Jefferson in a photo taken soon after their arrival in Wisconsin.

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power.Sign up for Dispatches, a newsletter that spotlights wrongdoing around the country, to receive our stories in your inbox every week. This story was co-published with the USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.

County officials in Wisconsin approved reforms this week meant to respond to a ProPublica report on the flawed investigation into the 2019 death of a Nicaraguan boy on a dairy farm. They include an $8 million fund for farmworker housing and measures to improve access to government services for people who don’t speak English.

Advocates said the housing initiative appears to be the first of its kind in Wisconsin, a state that calls itself “America’s Dairyland” but that offers few protections for the undocumented immigrants whose labor many farms depend on.

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