It is well known that immigrants from different countries, especially Hispanic immigrants, work harvesting the U.S.’s fields. Immigrants have been doing so for several decades, making them a crucial part in the development of this industry.
Because illegal immigrants have seen their freedom threatened if they work in states such as Arizona and California, they are moving to different parts of the nation hoping to find a job to provide for their families.
In the state of California, particularly in Sacramento, 800 farmers have reported lack of agricultural workers available to harvest their fields during 2012. Paul Wenger, President of the Farmers’ Californian Bureau states that in order to deal with this problem through this year, farmers have had to offer higher salaries, postpone their harvest and turn to mechanization.
Even though so far farmers have not had economic losses, they stated that in order to avoid biggest issues regarding this matter, the immigration authorities should create an effective and secure program which allows people from different countries to come to the United States to work legally.
On the other hand, Maria Machuca spokeswoman of UFW said that historically, farmers have made false statements regarding the lack of agricultural workers when they want to push for an expansion of the host workers program or to weaken the protections of the current host worker program (H2A).
Professor Philip Martin from the Agricultural Department and Economic Resources from the University of California in Davis said that “both parties have a little bit of reason.”
He stated that “some farmers thought that more agricultural workers were going to appear; however, they were disappointed. So far, I know that that lack of workers did not cause any important harvest losses.”
The Farmers’ Californian Bureau, which has a membership of 74,000 people reported that they depend amply on the immigrant work force.
“The effort of hiring employees born in the United States has not been successful most of the time, even during the most recent recession” they stated.
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