9/5/07

Anti-immigrant policies push American farmers abroad

Talk about the law of unintended consequences!

As the anti-immigrants succeed in walling off America to Latino immigrant workers, American farmers are beginning to move their operations abroad. Already 12 major agri-businesses just from California and Arizona have set up shop in Mexico employing some 11,000 workers there. And U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) displayed a map on the Senate floor in July locating more than 46,000 acres that American growers are cultivating in just two Mexican states, Guanajuato and Baja California.

Ironically, a walled America may end up being a major boon to the Mexican economy.

As farm operations move abroad, not only are low end jobs created, but also managerial jobs as well. Additionally, it's likely that a growing share of the purchases necessary to sustain the operations will be made abroad as well.

Consider this scenario: As many as 70% of the 2.5 million farm workers in the United States are undocumented workers. Simple economics suggests that deprived of this workforce, U.S. farms will be forced to raise prices above world market rates, which would require major new protectionist legislation, close down domestic operations and open operations abroad.

The Dobbs and Tancredo Know Nothings will then have to push for farm price controls and to bar the foreign import of farm products--triggering a massive food shortage and the collapse of the U.S. farm market.

The big losers: Average Americans.

Read American Farmers Cross the Border for Labor.
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