Immigration in Agribusiness Essay

Submitted By MikeTreiser
Words: 817
Pages: 4

MEMORANDUM TO: FROM: SUBJECT: DATE: MARCO RUBIO, UNITED STATES SENATE CEO – COLLIER ENTERPRISES EFFECT OF SENATE IMMIGRATION REFORM FRAMEWORK ON US AGRICULTURE JANUARY 30, 2013

We at Collier Enterprises would like to thank you on behalf of Florida agribusinesses for your work toward comprehensive immigration reform. It should come as no secret that such reforms will have significant impact on the agricultural industry as a whole, particularly in Florida, with our diverse labor population and significant crop-growing sector. Because resulting legislation will affect our businesses to such a large degree, we wanted to provide industry insights that we hope will help guide the conversation in Washington. As you are no doubt aware, agriculture’s capacity to impact every far-reaching aspect of the United States economy and our society as a whole centralizes the importance of keeping potential farming impacts in mind throughout the legislative process. Reform will drastically alter the competitive landscape within agriculture. An estimated three quarters of agricultural laborers are unauthorized to work or live in the United States (Wainer). While Collier Enterprises does not support or condone the hiring of illegal immigrants, it is a simple necessity of doing business. As technological advancements have revolutionized farming over recent decades, the industry has become increasingly solidified in favor of larger, more commercially prolific organizations at the expense of small farms. The only way for small- and many mediumsized operations to remain moderately competitive has been through the only other surefire means of across-the-board cost cutting – labor. American citizens, afforded the benefits of public education and increasingly attainable higher-education degrees that far surpass the qualifications for harvesting, are unwilling to serve as adequate labor supply to the arising demand. (See Figures 2 and 3 below to further illustrate.)

In their place have flowed the 11 million aforementioned laborers who account for three quarters of agricultural labor (Brown). The fortunate result of the unfortunate reality is a steady, amply, and relatively inexpensive food supply to American consumers. If the federal government does enact reforms that do not include a legitimate temporary migrant worker program and an expedient pathway to legalization for those already within our borders, that key labor supply will quickly run out and drive up costs of production, killing off farms without the resources to innovate away from human capital and, ultimately, raising prices on the American public. Policymakers hold the power to impact consumer perceptions. The individuals most capable of impacting public perception regarding immigrants and their role in society are you and your colleagues, our elected officials (Wainer). Forthcoming legislation must make a point of driving inclusiveness toward migrant laborers if it is to truly create lasting change. In Start With Why, author Simon Sinek details how the single most effective method of persuasion is to provide one’s audience with the fundamental reason behind an idea. In this case, migrant workers are the very reason many Americans can afford fresh, healthy produce without growing and harvesting themselves. In addition, migrant workers, including illegal immigrants, have a long history of being constructive members of their communities, many even risking…