US Farmers Depend on Illegal Immigrants Introduction The influx of the illegal immigrants in the United States has increased tremendously. In 2010, estimates indicated that the number of the illegal aliens was approximately eight million (ProCon. org). Similarly, the official statistics shows that ninety-one percent of the male immigrants constitute the workforce in 2012. The percentage is bigger than that of the legal immigrants and US-born males who make eighty-four and seventy-nine percent of the labor force (ProCon. org). The economic disruptions in the neighboring countries such as Mexico are attributable to the notable surges in the illegal immigration.
The immigrants contribute a certain percentage of the workforce. Majorly, the illegitimate immigrants have secured jobs in the construction industry and the agriculture. The analysts point out that the booming US economy is a contributing factor to the illegitimate immigration. Fundamentally, the concentration of the immigrants is in the lowest paying industries in the United States. Roughly, a quarter of the farm workers comprise the immigrants who entered the United States illegally (Passel and Cohn 5). Hence, agriculture depends hugely on the labor that the illegal immigrants provide. Undocumented Immigrants in Agriculture The agricultural sector in the United States attracts a large number of the illegal immigrants.
The immigrants provide cheap labor on the farms, as well as, the agricultural based industries. Illegal immigrants are willing to work for the lowest earning to sustain life in the United States. Whereas the natives cannot provide such less costly labor, the illegal immigrants view the payments as substantially to cater for their needs (Serrano). The demand for the workforce in the agricultural sector has been increasing tremendously. The Growers Association has publicly expressed their displeasure with the immigration reforms.
According to the association, the large percentage of the U. S farm laborers comes from the Mexico (Serrano). Hence, the efforts to deport the illegal immigrants will create a shortage in the labor force and lead to the wastage of the farm produce. Arizona and California, the two states that contribute half of the nation’s agricultural produce anticipate poor harvests if the reforms result in the deportation of the illegitimate immigrants. The Native Americans do not have a history of providing labor on the farms even the jobless citizens (ProCon. org).
Perhaps, most Americans view working on the farms as lowering the dignity of an individual. Hence, the illegal immigrants have many opportunities in the agriculture. The dependency of the illegal immigrants to provide cheap labor in the agricultural sector is arguably high. The agriculture sector warns of the possible disaster if the immigration policy, which the Congress supports, becomes effective law. Statistics indicates that eighty percentage of the field workers are illegitimate immigrants, and the E-verify program might have adverse effects of lowering the workforce by chasing away the illegal laborers (Ruark 10).
The tough fieldwork scares the Americans from executing the farm duties. Despite the campaigns to entice them to take up the farm jobs, the Americans have rejected such demands of the campaigners. The conservatives argue that the Obama Administration should demonstrate a lot of seriousness in deporting the illegal immigrants who take up the American jobs and bring in unhealthy competition in the labor market (Serrano). The agribusiness sector has consistently attempted to reject the immigration policy that would lead to the legal labor force.
The sector has pointed out that hiring the illegal immigrants is a crucial process for the survival and sustainability of the agricultural industry (Passel and Cohn 7). The move to increase the wages in order to attract the natives would jeopardize the American food production by inflating the prices if foodstuffs. The foreign-born labor force is critically significance for the highly labor-intensive agricultural sector. The wages of the illegal laborers have been lower than the earnings of the legal workforce. Hence, any attempts to replace the illegitimate immigrants with the legal workers will constraint the agricultural sector.
The supply of the illegal workforce has exceeded the demand, and this is attributable to the unemployment, as well as, low wages. The US Department of Agriculture States has indicated that the half of the labor force in the crop agriculture is not authorized immigrants. Similarly, the Department of Labor asserts that 1.25 million farm laborers are illegitimate immigrants (Passel and Cohn 5). The estimates show that the percentage of the illegal immigrants in the US agricultural sector is above seventy.
The Social Security Administration underpins the significance of the illegal immigrants. According to statistics, the undocumented immigrants have contributed a staggering ten percent of the Social Security Trust Fund (US Department of Labor). Hence, the illegitimate immigrants have not only been beneficial to the agricultural sector, but also to the social security trust fund. The National Agricultural Workers Survey shows undocumented immigrants comprise about fifty-three percent of the 1.4 million laborers that execute the farm duties (US Department of Labor). According to the survey, seventy-five percent of the immigrants without legal status are Mexico-born that took jobs in the agricultural sector upon arrival in the United States.
Other immigrants are Hispanic, Chicano, Latino, and Puerto Rican (US Department of Labor). The majority of the immigrants handle the semi-skilled jobs such as planting, weeding, and harvesting the farm produce. Specifically, the Midwest has approximately twenty-nine percent of the illegal workers that perform farm duties. In California, Arizona, and Nevada, the illegal immigrants constitute more than 2.5 percent of the labor force in the agricultural sector (Hanson 35).
The historical records indicate that the United States imported foreigners to execute the demanding field chores. Critics argue that the foreign laborers represented a disenfranchised group that did not have the rights to vote. Similarly, the human rights advocates have challenged the agricultural sector to avoid the exploitative tendencies that demean the undocumented immigrants. California is a rich agricultural producing state, and enjoys the cheap labor that the illegitimate immigrants provide (Ruark 6). The immigrants have accepted the minimal wages because they cannot attain such livelihood in their countries. However, the farm owners should not use the vulnerability of the undocumented immigrants as a tool to exploit them.
The survival and aspirations for betel lives compel the illegal immigrants to get to the United States and work on the plantations. The laborers endure the extreme, as well as, the harsh climate of the United States, while executing duties in the agricultural sector. It has been challenging for the illegal immigrants to obtain legal status in the United States due to the structure of the systems. However, the immigrants have strengthened the agricultural sector by making the United States a food-sustaining nation.
Notably, the agricultural sector has recorded enormous growth and profitability (ProCon. org). The agricultural sector has enjoyed approximately eighty percent annual increase in the profits (Ruark 1). Such percentage is higher when one compares with the other primary industries. The food supply chain in the United States has entirely depended on the foreign labor force. Hence, the agricultural lobbyists believe that the nation cannot trivialize the national interest by attempting to reform the immigration policies in order to deport the undocumented immigrants who supply cheap labor in the large-scale agricultural sector and agribusiness.
Conclusion The agricultural sector depends on the illegal immigrants to provide cheap labor. The undocumented immigrants form a large percentage of the workforce in the agricultural sector. The majority of the natives do not express interest working in the demanding the fieldwork. Statistics has shown that agriculture has enjoyed an enormous growth and profitability to the cheap labor the illegitimate immigrants provide. Hence, the lobbying campaign to disagree with the policies to legalize the immigrants has the basis of the profitability the agricultural sector has realized from the illegal immigrants.
In essence, the reforms in the immigration policy might affect the output of the agricultural sector. Works Cited Hanson, Gordon. Economic Logic of Illegal Immigration. Web. 6 Apr. 2015 < http: //www. cfr. org/content/publications/attachments/ImmigrationCSR26.pdf > Passel, Jeffrey and Cohn, D’vera. A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States. PewResearchCenter. Print. ProCon. org. Demographics of immigrants in the United States illegally. Web. 6 Apr. 2015 < http: //immigration. procon. org/view. resource. php? resourceID=000845 > Ruark, Erick. Illegal Immigration and Agribusiness. Web. 6 Apr. 2015 < http: //www. fairus. org/DocServer/agribusiness_rev2013.pdf> Serrano, Alfonso. ‘Why the undocumented workers are good for the economy.
Time, 14 Jun. 2012. Print. US Department of Labor. The National Agricultural Workers Survey. Web. 6 Apr 2015 < http: //www. doleta. gov/agworker/report9/chapter1.cfm > Appendices Appendix 1 Web: http: //www. heritage. org/static/reportimages/FE0FD00D1031B921A4796634932A5770.gif Appendix 2 Web: http: //www. cis. org/sites/cis. org/files/articles/2006/back107.gif Appendix 3 Web: http: //cis. org/sites/cis. org/files/articles/2001/mexico/labor. 8.gif Appendix 4 Web: http: //www. pewhispanic. org/files/2009/04/2009-unauthorized-29.png