Over the past couple months we’ve seen the Trump administration implement a zero tolerance policy at the US’ southern border. This has caused us to watch the unlawful detainment of people looking for asylum here in the US, and the kidnapping of their children as well as the placement of these children in kiddie concentration camps outside of El Paso, Texas.
His tirade over immigrants doesn’t stop at the southern border. Now in a 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court, Trump’s Muslim ban is back in effect, which “restricts entry into the US from seven countries to varying degrees: Iran, North Korea, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Venezuela” (CNN).
With all this talk of illegal immigrants and banning of Muslims from entering the country, how is our economy going to be affected?
Well as it turns out there are entire cornerstone pieces of our economy that cannot function without undocumented immigrants and this is simply because there are no US citizens willing to work in these industries, the largest being the agriculture industry.
What half of our bible thumping conservative neighbors don’t seem to realize is that, these immigrants come to our country to find work and don’t just sit here leaching off the system. In fact there are approximately 8 million employed undocumented immigrants in the work force today, making up about 5% of our total workforce for the US. This is the part where the other half of our conservative neighbors say that these people are coming to take our jobs. This 5% of jobs falls into the previously mentioned agriculture industry which wouldn’t function without them as well as low level construction and production jobs as well as transportation and service jobs. 53% of those people work the farms to feed our country. Now why wouldn’t this industry work without these undocumented immigrants? It’s simply because the people offering up work in these industries can’t fill the open worker positions they have with American citizens. Translation – American’s don’t want these jobs.
In fact, the agriculture industry, in an effort to bolster their documented and citizen based workforce, has gone out of their way to increase their wages and benefits and they still can’t get United States citizens to come and work for them. An example of this was covered by the LA Times in an effort to show that people that are legal citizens simply will not take these jobs:
“Carrying a fat stack of business cards for his company, Silverado Farming, Arnulfo Solorio approached one prospect, a man with only his bottom set of teeth. He told Solorio that farm work in Stockton pays $11 to $12 an hour. Solorio countered: “Look, we are paying $14.50 now, but we are going up to $16.” The man nodded skeptically” (LA Times).
This man continued to approach people to fill his 100 person quota of workers offering jobs to the homeless, and drug addicts just to find legal American bodies to get the job done and it was to no avail. Even in these conditions, he couldn’t find workers to keep his farm alive that season without undocumented immigrants.
“Solorio is one of a growing number of agricultural businessmen who say they face an urgent shortage of workers. The flow of labor began drying up when President Obama tightened the border. Now President Trump is promising to deport more people, raid more companies and build a wall on the southern border” (LA Times).
In fact, they’ve made such an effort in boosting the pay of these workers that from 1996 – 2015 the agriculture industry’s average pay in California went up about 50%, which is higher than most industries over the same time period. They are also offering up “401(k) plans, health insurance, subsidized housing and profit-sharing bonuses” (LA Times) as well as solid amounts of vacation time (2-3 weeks in some cases) and paid holidays which are benefits that most wouldn’t have expected to receive when taking jobs in the farm industry.
So what happens if Trump succeeds and gets rid of all of the undocumented immigrants? One example based on “a study commissioned by the dairy industry suggested that if federal labor and immigration policies reduced the number of foreign-born workers by 50 percent, more than 3,500 dairy farms would close, leading to a big drop in milk production and a spike in prices of about 30 percent. Total elimination of immigrant labor would increase milk prices by 90 percent” (CBS News). Our fruit and meat industries are also at risk of similar spikes in pricing and closures of farms if Trump’s immigration efforts are successful.
I say this at the end of each of my posts here at Liberal Resistance, but make sure you get out there and vote this November. The atrocities committed by Trump and his people need to be kept in check. The banning of Muslims from our country is such a horrific move that’s negatively affecting all of our Muslim citizens and the detainment and removal of undocumented immigrants in the way that Trump is pushing for will literally cause parts of our economy to collapse. Stay strong my fellow Americans. The tides will change soon.