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ImmigrationProf Blog

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Farmers fed up with lack of immigration reform

Farmers are facing tough times and the lack of progress on immigration reform is making things worse for this sector.

To listen to right-wing talk radio or the fear-mongers on cable TV, you would think that the only people upset by the unraveling of immigration reform are open-border liberals or left-leaning Latino activists.
Nope. Farmers and ranchers are as conservative as they come. Yet right about now, they're angry enough to spit nails.
American agribusiness is fighting off foreign competition from Asia and Latin America while losing workers to other industries. Someone who grows peaches in Central California might pay workers about $7 per hour, while construction firms often pay twice that.
The reason for the disparity is wrapped up in how much people are willing to pay for what they consume. A lot of Californians won't think twice about forking over a million dollars for a house, but they'll balk at the price of an apple, especially when they have the option of going to another store where the apples are cheaper because they come from China.
And given that California agribusiness generates more than $30 billion annually, the labor shortage is a concern for everyone in the state -- whether they realize it or not.

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