Agriculture and Immigration - A List of References

January 2014
Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).    Illegal immigration and agribusiness: the effect on the agriculture industry of converting to a legal workforce.   May 2013.    33 p.
Krikorian, Mark.   Ag employers cry wolf on immigration.  (Center for Immigration Studies blog, June 3, 2012) 
Martin, Philip.    Farm exports and farm labor: Would a raise for fruit and vegetable workers diminish the competitiveness of U.S. agriculture?    March 21, 2011.    (EPI briefing paper no.295)
      The pdf document linked from this webpage contains an appendix on pp.15-17: “Status of mechanization in fruits and vegetables.”
     Dr. Martin has written extensively on farm labor issues.  A list of his publications is posted  at:
North, David.   Caution: Watch for farmers' fibs on “Labor Shortages.”   (CIS blog, Jan. 9, 2012)
___________.  S. 744 would eliminate modest existing benefits for some groups of aliens    (CIS blog, May 21, 2013.
     “ … H-2A is, compared to what both houses of Congress are contemplating in terms of a non-immigrant farm worker program, a program that affords mild worker protections to some 85,000 workers each year. …”
___________.    Some illegals to get legal status after only four months in the U.S.   (CIS blog, April 29, 2013)
___________.  We should remember the bracero program ... and shudder.  (CIS blog, March 12, 2013. 
NumbersUSA.    Immigration and agriculture.    [a summary of the issue]
     Contents:  AgJobs amnesty.- H-2A visa program = no need for illegal workers.- H-2A example.- Complaints about H-2A.- Pres. Obama/s changes to H-2A.-How real is the labor shortage in agriculture?
Ruark, Eric.   Georgia Department of Agriculture finds big ag lobby made false claims about HB87.   Federation for American Immigration Reform, Jan. 17, 2012.    (Immigration Reform Blog)
     “…deflates the apocalyptic claims by the agribusiness lobby that the law would cause ‘crops to rot in the fields’ and food prices to skyrocket. FAIR’s analysis of the report shows the claims made by corporate farms are false, and that those who benefit from employing illegal workers can afford to pay wages up to 40 percent higher and still remain profitable. It is not surprising that the GADOA report would substantiate FAIR’s work, but what is surprising is that the passage of HB87 had virtually no impact on the profitability of even the largest growers in Georgia.”
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.   H-2A temporary agricultural workers.
           Contains general information. 
Bussewitc, Cathy.   Machines replacing men in the vineyard.  In  The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa CA, October 2, 2011.
Harvest automation [a commercial website].
Jones, Joseph.   Harvey: A working robot for container crops.  Oct. 23, 2013.  
Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis.   High-tech robotic wine: the future of winemaking is robots.   Oct. 9, 2013)
Mohan, Geoffrey.    As California’s labor shortage grows, farmers race to replace workers with robots.  In Los Angeles Times, July 21, 2017.
Projections, mechanization.    In Rural migration news, Jan. 2014, v.20, no.1.
Vinson, John.    Mechanization: a solution to the farm labor issue.  (American Immigration Control Foundation Policy Brief)     March 2013.     4 p. 
     A pdf document linked from publications list at:
Wheat, Dan.    New tools aid harvest: Prototypes could dramatically improve efficiency,  expand labor pool.    In Capital Press, Thursday, July 19, 2012.
Beck, Jeremy.  New York Times withholds key fact in story.   NumbersUSA blog, April 26, 2012.   2 p. ,          "…portrayed farmers as the hapless victims of state enforcement laws run amok …”
Congressional and Administrative Actions on Farm Labor, arranged by date
USCIS circumvents federal law governing time limits on temporary work visas.  (In FAIR’s Legislative Update, Nov. 25, 2013).
     “Last week U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a policy memorandum (dated November 11, 2013) that will allow the Obama Administration to circumvent existing time limits for guest worker visas. (See Policy Memorandum, Nov. 11, 2013) The memo specifically applies to H-2A (agricultural workers), H-2B (low-skilled workers), and H-3 (“trainee”) visas, and achieves its goal by amending the USCIS Adjudicator’s Field Manual, the guide instructing USCIS officials on how to process applications. …”
House bill grants amnesty to illegal aliens working in agriculture.  (In FAIR’s Legislative Update, April 29, 2013.
H.R. 1773: Agricultural Guestworker "AG" Act.  (In FAIR’s Legislation in the 113th Congress, April 26, 2013)
Senate gang finalize ag-worker amnesty provisions, set to unveil bill tomorrow.  (In FAIR Legislative Update,  April 15, 2013.
Democrats, GOP advocate expanding agricultural guest worker programs.  (In FAIR Legislative Update, March 4, 2013.
H.R. 242: Legal Agricultural Workforce Act.  (In FAIR’S Legislation in the 113th Congress; Jan. 24, 2013. 
House Subcommittee advocates for ag guest workers.    (In FAIR Legislative Update, Feb. 13, 2012)
Account of a Hearing on Feb. 9, 2012, House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement.
     “Bruce Goldstein, president of Farmworker Justice, argued against the expansion of guest worker programs, stating that illegal alien farmworkers reduce wages and thus discourage Americans from performing agricultural labor. ‘The presence of undocumented workers depresses wages for all workers, including the roughly 700,000 U.S. citizens….Guest workers will toil to the limits of human endurance at low wages, when U.S. workers seek more sustainable productivity requirements,’ he testified. (Id.)
     “Proponents of guest worker programs continue to argue that there are no U.S. workers, or not enough of them, to meet the needs of the agriculture industry. But this argument, standing alone, overlooks the fact illegal labor inherently depresses wages, thus discouraging American workers from taking agriculture jobs. When it comes to raising wages, employers mistakenly argue that increasing wages to attract Americans would result in significantly higher food prices or a decline in U.S. food production. To the contrary, a report released by FAIR last year studying the impact of immigration on the agricultural industry found that employers would be only minimally impacted if they increased wages to attract a legal workforce. (See FAIR Report: The Effect on the Agriculture Industry of Converting to a Legal Workforce, April 2011) The report found that increasing wages results in a legal and increasingly native-born workforce. Specifically, the study concluded that large corporations (those making over $250,000 annually) can increase employee wages by 30 percent without passing the cost onto consumers. This would allow companies to maintain a profit and attract more American workers.”
Feinstein promises to introduce new AgJOBS bill.    (In FAIR Legislative Update, Oct. 11, 2011)
     Account of a Hearing at which agribusinesses complained of labor shortages.
     “The lone voice testifying on behalf of the American worker was Eric Ruark, Director of Research at FAIR. Mr. Ruark informed the committee of how corporate farm industries are capitalizing on illegal farm workers by underpaying the workers to increase profit. Depressed wages not only exploit illegal workers, he explained, but also drive down wages for all workers and discourage U.S. workers from engaging in agricultural labor. Ruark testified that commercial farms could pay substantially higher wages, as much as a 30 percent increase, and still be profitable. If farms insisted on passing such a wage increase to the American consumer, Ruark asserted that a 30 percent wage increase would only increase the cost of produce by pennies.”
Rep. Lungren proposes alternative agricultural guest worker program.  (In FAIR Legislative Update, Sept.19, 2011.
     “Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) last week introduced the “Legal Agricultural Workforce Act,” legislation that would create a large new agricultural guest worker program in addition to existing guest worker programs.  (See H.R. 2895) Rep. Lungren’s bill would create a new “W” visa program to admit foreign agricultural labor as an alternative to both the current H-2A guest worker program and to Rep. Lamar Smith’s (R-TX) “American Specialty Agriculture Act,” which significantly amends the H-2A program. (H.R. 2895 at § 2(a); See FAIR’s Legislative Update, Sept. 12, 2011) The W agricultural guest worker program would be administered by the Department of Agriculture, in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security. ..”
Chairman Smith introduces new guest worker program [to import agricultural workers].    (In FAIR Legislative Update, Sept. 12, 2011)
Description of the bill (H.R. 2847) and summary of testimony at Hearing on Sept. 7.
Critics deride H-2A guest worker program.  (In FAIR Legislative Update, April 28, 2011) 
     Account of Congressional Hearing on farm employers’ complaints, with quotes from some witnesses.  
     “Others testified that employers who employ H-2A agricultural guest workers are still getting a bargain over American workers. Mr. Leon Sequeira [former Assistant Secretary of Labor] reminded the committee members that under H-2A visas, employers do not pay Social Security or unemployment taxes on the visa workers’ wages. This saves the employers roughly 10% over hiring a U.S. citizen. Such a system makes it extremely difficult for U.S. citizens to find work on American farms. Mr. Sequiera testified that employers routinely turn away U.S. workers, discourage them from applying for H-2A jobs, or subject them to unfair and illegal working conditions. He provided an example of two American women in Georgia who were recently fired from an H-2A employer after only a few days in the fields for allegedly failing to meet a production standard which had not been approved by the government and about which the workers had not been told until arriving at the farm.
     “Despite employers’ claims that the H-2A process is slow and burdensome, Ms. Oates [Asst. Secretary,  Dept. of Labor] testified that 70 percent of applications are processed within the 15 calendar day window provided by law. Still, growers urged Congressman that if they are going to be required to use a guest worker program that it be timely and consistent.”
Farm laborers and the United States.  Congressional testimony of Eric Ruark, FAIR.   2011?