After President Barack Obama temporarily legalized millions of immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally on Friday, farmers are still concerned about losing workers. With the plan, it is estimated that 250,000 farm workers would be safe from deportation and would be eligible for work permits, according to the United Farmworkers Union. However, that is just a small portion of the total undocumented workers who work in agriculture.
Farmers hope that Obama's action will lead to Congross finding a solution that will help solve agriculture's workforce needs, Miriam Jordan reported for The Wall Street Journal.
The U.S. Labor Department reports that more than half of all field works are undocumented immigrants, but many farmer groups estimate that number to be higher than 70 percent.
“Hopefully, this motivates them to come together to work on a fix to the broken immigration laws,” Ralph Broetje, a Washington state apple grower who employs more than 2,000 workers, the vast majority of them immigrants, told The Wall Street Journal.
Farmers say that the ideal solution would be a congressional fix that would legalize undocumented field workers, and possibly encourage them to stay in agriculture.