Will Trump’s tough talk on immigration cause a farm labor shortage

By Vanessa Rancano, NPR

farmworkers_nprIn the Central Valley, there’s a bumper sticker you see all over the place. It’s shaped like California, and reads “My job depends on Ag.” In California, that agriculture depends on immigrant labor.

Many farmers in the state supported President Donald Trump despite his hard-line stance on immigration. So as the new Trump administration takes office, what’s the thinking of those involved in the region’s biggest industry?

Just after the workday ends, men in dirty jeans and work boots stream into a small record store in the farming town of Mendota. Racks of CDs and music posters line the walls, but nobody’s browsing. The guys are in line to use the store’s wire transfer service. They’re sending money home to families in Mexico and El Salvador.

“We just came in from the fields — nine hours pruning pistachio trees,” says a weary-looking man in a dust-covered sweatshirt. He’ll say only that his name is Pablo because, like all the farm workers I talked to for this story, he’s in the country illegally.
I ask him what he thinks of Trump’s tough talk on immigration. Pablo’s answer includes a strong, derogatory word. Read more …