SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A group of farmworkers is suing a company owned by the family of a New Mexico Democratic candidate for governor.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports ( that the farmworkers accuse the business, owned by the family of state Sen. Joseph Cervantes, of trying to manipulate a federal visa program and passing over American workers for foreign laborers.

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, a nonprofit group that advocates for farmworkers, says in the lawsuit that Cervantes' family business in southern New Mexico was part of a scheme that harms workers on both sides of the border.

Cervantes says his family had nothing to do with a recruiter's efforts to obtain temporary work permits for hired hands from Mexico.

Chile farmers in the area have long complained about a shortage of labor.