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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Judge urges settlement in migrant housing dispute

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Tree planters. Photo by SPLC.
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wilpf.org

DOWAGIAC, Mich. (AP) - A federal judge is urging the government and a southwestern Michigan farm to settle a lawsuit over housing for migrant workers.

The Labor Department accuses Berrybrook Enterprises and owner Joe Hassle Sr. of failing to meet a number of conditions, including adequate water, screens and rodent control. The farm signed an agreement in 2010 to improve housing for migrant workers.

Lawyers say there have been meaningful settlement discussions. Judge Janet Neff wants an update by Feb. 15.

Berrybrook is based in Dowagiac in Cass County, 45 miles southwest of Kalamazoo, but it also has camps in Van Buren County. The camps are licensed for hundreds of people.