Monday, December 29, 2014

Farmers Brace for Labor Shortage Under New Policy

I always thought Obama's new executive order to stop the deportation of many illegals was to flush them out and drive them into legal jobs that will force them to become union members. That is going to be a problem for the agricultural sector, which hired many illegals.

AP explains:
Farmers already scrambling to find workers in California — the nation's leading grower of fruits, vegetables and nuts — fear an even greater labor shortage under President Barack Obama's executive action to block some 5 million people from deportation.

Thousands of the state's farmworkers, who make up a significant portion of those who will benefit, may choose to leave the uncertainty of their seasonal jobs for steady, year-around work building homes, cooking in restaurants and cleaning hotel rooms.

"This action isn't going to bring new workers to agriculture," said Jason Resnick, vice president and general counsel of the powerful trade association Western Growers. "It's possible that because of this action, agriculture will lose workers without any mechanism to bring in new workers."...

Once Obama's executive action starts going into effect next year, it will protect the parents of legal U.S. residents from deportation and expand a 2012 program that shields from deportation people brought into the U.S. illegally as children.

Manuel Cunha, president of the Fresno-based Nisei Farmers League, estimates that 85 percent of California's agricultural workers are using false documents to obtain work.
And some of those that stay on the farms will not just continue to do their work. Troublemakers will emerge, causing more upward cost pressures on farmers:
With proper documentation, workers will feel empowered and be more valuable,  [Armando Elenes, national vice president of the United Farm Workers] said. Confronted with abuse at work — such as being paid less than minimum wage or denied overtime — workers will be able to challenge their employer or leave, he said.


  1. This is still a net plus for the US - probably the best thing this tyrant has done in is tenure as destroyer in chief. While there could be a bump in agricultural product prices, there are offsets. If & when these humans move into other professions, the cost of labor in those professions drops creating downward pressure on the prices of the goods & services they supply.

    Further, there may be another factor that I've previously overlooked: prior to this action, these workers kept all of their wages as "illegals". Now, the various governments will extract their take in the form of income tax withholding should these individuals have skills that make them productive enough to be shorn. So while their gross wages may increase, their net could fall. So a worker won't move simply because his gross is higher.

    I still think the risks of this, arguably unConstitutional, action are overblown. The benefits of removing government restrictions on the movement of human capital still outweighs them.

  2. It could cause new illegals to enter the US market which would create animosity between the newly legal workers and the new illegal entrants. The newly legal workers will then call for closed borders, etc. This could have an impact on the left's agenda to legalize new lefty voters. They might turn on the left and become right wingers on the border issue.