A Hard’s Days Work: The Importance of Migrant Labor

Apples are rotting on the branches of trees and corn is dying in the vast fields of America because of a shortage of workers to harvest our crops, resulting in substantial losses for farmers and their communities. Worker shortages are raising a serious threat to bring in the harvest and this problem ties in with larger political issues. In an agricultural system built on exploitation, tough immigration laws are getting rid of one of the easiest groups of people to exploit: undocumented immigrants who have everything to lose if they attempt to report labor violations or assert their rights.

Unfortunately, many American’s have a negative view of immigrants. Despite ample evidence to the contrary, some feel that immigrants are “stealing jobs,” committing crimes and taking advantage of the social services system. Members of the general public are convinced they need rescuing from immigrants, and that tightening the borders and creating a hostile climate in individual states will solve “the immigration problem.” However, in reality, much of what it really does is to create shortages of what Americans rely on, like fruits and vegetables.

According to globalcomment.com, our racist attitudes and mixed messages are making life extremely difficult for those who are working so hard to put food on our tables. Those immigrants that become migrant workers are often undocumented, or have American-born children, creating a risk that parents may be deported while children remain behind. Many are not willing to take that risk. Some states have been happy to exploit migrant labor for grueling farm work, to the point that many economies are dependent on undocumented immigrants, and are not prepared to lose large segments of their workforce. The consequences have been devastating in agriculture-heavy states that have also passed immigration crackdowns.

Perhaps what many people do not realize is that farm work is extremely hard work, with long days that are definitely more than the regulated eight hours, and they require repetitive, physically demanding labor, often in grueling conditions. Protections under the law for farmworkers are often fought by agriculture corporations, which have a vested interest in exploiting workers for profit; in California, farmworkers cannot even access clean water and are told to drink from livestock troughs if they get thirsty on the job. It turns out that despite the economy, few people (i.e., white and middle class) are lining up for jobs on farms in the United States, and those that do maybe ill-suited for the work, without the physical stamina to handle a full day in the fields.

America is a country founded by an immigrant for immigrants. It takes members of every nationality to make the United States the beautiful nation is has grown into, and if you are an immigrant who is experiencing (or has experienced) any problems, stand up for your rights by contacting an experienced and knowledgeable immigration attorney today!