Where Are the Migrant Workers to Pick Our Food?
Growers in California, Florida and other states that produce much of the nation's food needs help, needs more migrant workers, illegal or not, to pick the food so everyone can eat. The labor shortage has not been this bad in 40 years. Mexico and other migrant producing countries have been developing and offering many of the migrants that would normally come to the US to pick food equal paying jobs. So, why deal with immigration, being deported, being killed? These large farms need many workers and if they do not have them, the farms will go out of business.
Even though efforts have been tried to recruit citizen workers to toil in the fields, it seems Americans are not willing to endure such hard labor for such low wages, few US citizens work in the fields.
Immigration control is making it harder for these workers to come even seasonal and reform measures are trying to address this with more attractive incentives. One is by working so many days on a farm, the worker will get a permanent residence. Half of all current field workers are illegal and 8 out of 10 are undocumented. Every year, one million of them come to the USA to pick our food so America can eat.
Employers are now turning to the H2-A visa program, which allows them to bring in workers for short periods of time. The downside is they are paid higher wages, need to be be supplied housing and other expenses. North Carolina is using it to pick tobacco and avoid $4000 in fines for hiring illegals. There are over 750 farms in the state.
The average field worker earns almost $11 per hour, up two dollars from 2007.