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Deporting the Hand That Feeds Us: How Anti-Immigrant Laws Are Causing a Farm Labor Shortage

If Americans won't do the work, and the U.S. successfully keeps undocumented immigrants out of the country, then who will do it?

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As a solution, Colbert suggested, “Maybe we could offer more visas to the immigrants who, let’s face it, are likely to be doing these jobs anyway.” If the workers are in the U.S. legally, perhaps they would feel secure enough to complain about exploitative conditions.

McMillan feels that “the way you get people to do [farm work] is you pay them a decent enough wage so that they are willing to put up with it.” If they were paid $15 or $20 per hour, she thinks high school kids might be willing to work on farms for a few months. Because farmworker wages make up a very small percent of the retail price of food, she doesn’t think increasing farmworker wages would result in a catastrophic increase in food prices. Perhaps the shortage of immigrant farmworkers gives the U.S. an opportunity to bring justice to an industry that has been unjust since the era of slavery. 

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