How Alabama’s immigration law is crippling its farms

Ever since I passed this bus with Latino farm labor, the question of agriculture, employment and vanishing family farms has been sitting in the back of my mind.

This photo was taken as we started the climb out of the Imperial Valley into the mountains that would eventually take us into San Diego.

It is not a simple issue but to me it is begining to boil down to politics and corruption.

How Alabama’s immigration law is crippling its farms:“….

Of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country, some 7 million are in the job force. The idea that they can be deported or replaced en masse with jobless U.S. workers is far-fetched. That’s the message that Alabama farmers have been giving their elected leaders, so far to little avail.

Alabama lawmakers insist that, by driving undocumented workers out, they will open jobs for Americans; the unemployment rate in the state is nearly 10 percent. But farmers say that jobless U.S. workers, mostly inexperienced in field work and concentrated in and around cities, are ill-suited and mostly unwilling to do the back-breaking, poorly paid work required to plant and harvest tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and other crops. Farmers also say that, if they were to raise wages to make the jobs more attractive, as advocates for the new law suggest, crop prices would soar, making Alabama produce uncompetitive….”
How Alabama’s immigration law is crippling its farms

The History of Japanese American Strawberry Farms on Bainbridge Island It appears that in part, this is a play back of what happened when the Japanese were placed in internment camps during world war II.
“…Throughout the west coast, farmers of Japanese descent became the backbone for the fruit-growing enterprise. In Southern California, alone, Issei, or first-generation immigrants, virtually built berry-farming into a $1.3 billion dollar industry. Typical of that generation were the Hayashida and Nakao families on Bainbridge Island…..The Bainbridge Island families were the first of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans nationwide sent to World War II concentration camps under President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. Most of those exiled were American citizens. A total of 227 Bainbridge Island men, women and children were herded onto a ferry on March 30, 1942 and shipped off to camps, where they would spend up to the next four years…..”

The History of Japanese American Strawberry Farms on Bainbridge Island

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