American agricultural industry is on the verge of collapse. Labor lacks and economic crisis has led to the fact that more than 35% of vegetables, fruits and berries are imported into the country from abroad. This is the worst performance in the national agricultural sector over the past forty years.
“If we do not take effective measures aimed at improving farm today, after a few years the United States will fall into total dependence on foreign countries, – said vice president of the Agricultural Coalition for Immigration Reform (ACIR). – Our country is losing millions of dollars because we do not use huge areas, which could give a rich harvest…”
The main reason for the weakening is a shortage of labor. Green card holders and U.S. citizens are very rarely agree to harvest potatoes, deal with pests or fertilize the soil. “I spent four months in search of a man who could work 12 hours a day on my farm – says Bruce Braddock, owner of potato fields in Oklahoma. – I offered good conditions: free accommodation, free meals and a salary of $ 400 per week. From all who are interested in my proposal, there was not even one legal resident. The hiring of illegal resident will cause a visit of immigration service and giant penalties…”
Braddock, like millions of other American farmers, was in a position from which there is no escape. On the one hand, he cannot raise wages to the extent so that the work on the farm will interest legal residents of the United States. On the other – to hire illegal immigrants is illegal. Conclusion: the farmer must either go bankrupt or break the law…
Meanwhile, illegal immigrants are the foundation of all USDA. Experts are saying that if they were all gone, the price of potatoes, corn, fruits and vegetables wholesale would jump to seven times.
In 1989, on American farms about 7% of illegal immigrants had their workplace, in 1994 – 34%, in 1998 – 52%, and today nearly 75%. Despite the fact that only through illegal Mexicans there is such a great variety of fruits, vegetables and berries in our shops, immigration service rush to handcuff each “agricultural savior.”
Only in September 2013, more than two hundred private farmers from different parts of the United States declared bankruptcy. They have been unable to pay government penalties for hiring illegals.
“My family of six lives on $ 50,000 a year, which we get from harvest, – says a resident of North Dakota Randall Carlisle, who owns ten acres of land planted with lentils. – We cannot cope with the farm itself, and therefore are forced to hire workers and pay them less than $ 6 per hour. Only illegals agree on such payment. My family will starve if I raise the salary at least for a dollar…”
I’m sure many readers will say that a shortage of labor in the agricultural sector can be compensated by foreign seasonal workers. However, the situation is even more complicated. Today the part of holders of the H-2A visa on American farms is only 6%, while in Texas it does not exceed 1%.
By the way, the farmers themselves are not very happy about foreigners with work visas. “Last year, through the labor contract eight women aged 30 to 50 years came to me, – says a California farmer Roy Jackson. – They had to gather apples from six in the morning until four in the afternoon for $ 7.50 per hour. They worked so slowly and clumsily that my business was destroyed. I could hire a Mexican for $ 5 an hour, who would replace all of them…”
Legal foreign worker for the American farmer is a “pig in a poke.” First, the employer does not have a clue about whom he “orders” from abroad. Secondly, the contract does not allow the farmer to dismiss an employee without “reasoned motives”. Third, there is always a risk that a foreigner will simply run away from the farm and find another way to earn money.