Recent raids by U.S. immigration authorities targeting undocumented immigrants are creating a wave of distress through America’s agricultural sector, an industry that’s heavily dependent on foreign workers.
Hundreds of arrests have been made in at least six states over the past week. That’s left undocumented workers afraid to travel and farmers pondering whether they can risk hiring them, according to organizations representing both groups.
Farms in the western U.S. have already dealt with a dwindling labor supply, partly because of tightened border security for years, said Pete Aiello, general manager at Gilroy, California-based Uesugi Farms. He worries that things will get worse this year and his company may not be able to find enough contractors.
“The mood is not good,” Aiello said. “It’s one of pretty significant trepidation.”
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