October 25, 2007


Immigration Raids Hurt Farmers: Farmers say an immigration crackdown is causing workers to flee and crippling operations. Now they're urging reform (Moira Herbst, 10/25/07, Business Week)

Maureen Torrey, an 11th-generation farmer in the rural town of Elba, N.Y., has been losing sleep. Just as rows of cabbage and winter squash stand ready for harvest on her 11,000 acre farm, she can't find enough workers to bring in the crops. She needs about 350 workers and is 70 short of that number. "I wake up at 3:30 in the morning and my mind doesn't shut off," she says.

The problem, she says, is fear. Torrey Farms, a 14-crop vegetable farm located an hour east of Buffalo, has been raided twice since last October, when she says immigration officials kicked in the doors of workers' housing and apprehended 34. In August, officials arrested seven workers and 14 more fled the area. Amid continued talk of a federal crackdown on undocumented immigrants, she's afraid still more of her workforce will flee to less hostile terrain. With a population of about 9,000, the town of Elba, "Onion Capital of the World" to locals, may not have the manpower to replace them. [...]

[W]hile the new rule has yet to take effect, its impact is already being felt by farmers like Torrey. An estimated three-quarters of agricultural workers in the U.S. are undocumented, and growers are starting to feel the paralyzing effects of losing their workforce. They say that unless the government implements workable reforms, the future of the U.S. as a food-producing nation is in jeopardy.

On the bright side, destroying their farms will reduce the bite of the death tax!

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 25, 2007 7:55 PM

They should have slapped forfeiture papers on her damn farm as an instrumentality of crime, that'd have taught her a lesson. Why is it too hard to ask employers to check documents? This case involved long-term harboring of illegals, vide the reference to la Migra kicking down the doors to workers' housing.

If not employing illegals means one must charge the actual cost of the vegetables, that is how the market is supposed to work. This case is not about immigration, is is about lying and cheating.

Posted by: Lou Gots at October 26, 2007 4:08 AM

The Right vs farmers and other businesses. Thus do they become the Left.

Posted by: oj at October 26, 2007 7:28 AM

Yeah. What a strange thing to expect them to follow the law.

Posted by: Mikey [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2007 8:15 AM

Folks like Dred Scott could never learn their place either.

Posted by: oj at October 26, 2007 9:48 AM