Immigration Reform: What Does it Mean for Agriculture and Rural America?

Posted: 17 May 2010

See all articles by Philip Martin

Philip Martin

University of California, Davis - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Linda Calvin

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

Abstract

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

Martin, Philip and Calvin, Linda, Immigration Reform: What Does it Mean for Agriculture and Rural America?. Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Vol. 32, No. 2, pp. 232-253, 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1607533 or http://dx.doi.org/ppq006

Philip Martin (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics ( email )

CA
United States

Linda Calvin

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States

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