It has long been an open secret that some farms survive by relying on an undocumented labor force. Now, tough immigration enforcement has caused a crisis.
“Dreamers, TPS and DED recipients have, for decades, done the work that that American industries and our local economies rely on, and they deserve to stay,” said Painters Union General President Ken Rigmaiden.
It’s Sunday night of Labor Day weekend, but any barbecues died down hours ago, and the rural back roads of this southern Napa County neighborhood are a dark and silent maze.
The International Rescue Committee, a resettlement agency with offices in the San Diego area, released a report Wednesday detailing what it has seen around San Diego Country since arrivals dipped to the lowest numbers the program has seen since it began in 1980.
Since Hurricane Maria, nearly 300,000 Puerto Ricans have left for Florida alone. At first, most of those leaving were elderly, disabled or in need of critical medical care. Now planes are leaving full of young people economically stranded in the post-Maria landscape. These departures will only compound the already historic migratory wave caused by the island’s fiscal crisis, possibly resulting in an overall 25 percentpopulation loss by the end of the decade.
Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration through stepped-up arrests and border enforcement has shaken the U.S. agricultural sector, where as many as 7 in 10 farm workers are undocumented, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.