Immigration Reform: What Does it Mean for Agriculture and Rural America?
Posted: 17 May 2010
Over half of the hired workers employed on U.S. crop farms have been unauthorized to work since the mid-1990s, thereby increasing risk for employers if increased immigration law enforcement reduces the availability and raises the cost of farm labor. Immigration reform that legalizes farm workers could speed exits from the farm workforce, thus putting upward pressure on farm wages. Better enforcement of existing immigration laws would reduce the supply of farm workers, also putting upward pressure on wages. Producer response to higher wages depends, in part, on the availability of guest workers and alternatives to hand labor such as labor-saving machinery.
Keywords: Immigration reform, U.S. agriculture
JEL Classification: J61, J43, Q16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation