Illegal Immigrant Farm Labor in the U.S. Essay

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Illegal Immigrant Farm Labor

In the U.S. today, much of the farm labor is done by illegal immigrants. There are several issues to consider with this type of immigration, and there are definite (and strong) opinions on both sides of the issue. While some people have very little problem with these immigrants, others feel as though they should not be allowed to remain in the country under any circumstances. Using illegal immigrants for farm labor is a practice that has gone on for a number of years, and those who use these types of workers state that the reason they do it is due to the fact that U.S. workers will not do the same job for the same price (Beasley, 2006). The farmers would have to raise their rates quite aggressively if they were going to use U.S. workers, because they would likely have to pay them more (Ngai, 2004). Of course, others do not share this opinion, and they believe U.S. workers would do the job without the need to raise rates (Borjas, 1994; Espenshade, 1995). There are three main reasons why illegal immigrant farm labor is not a good thing for the United States, and these are (1) the loss of jobs for U.S. workers to do, (2) the fact that many immigrant workers use services in the U.S. For which they do not pay taxes, and (3) the degrading of the American dream by failing to give jobs to legal immigrants who have come to the U.S. seeking a better life.

The loss of jobs for U.S. workers is a serious issue where illegal immigration is
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concerned. When workers want jobs but they cannot get them because they are taken by others, that makes it very hard for those workers to feed their families. While farm labor jobs are not often the most desirable line of work, it does pay the bills and allow people to put food on the table (Beasley, 2006). United States citizens who want these jobs end up struggling and resentful, but yet farmers argue that they will not have enough workers if they do not hire illegal immigrants to work (Ngai, 2004). This is questionable, since these farm labor jobs are generally not advertised in ways where U.S. citizens who need work can find them. With the economy struggling even more now than it has in the past, many of the jobs that people did not want to do before are becoming the only way they can make money. That can keep them coming back to work even if the job at which they are working is not ideal. Farm labor is still a very large part of life for many people in the U.S. (Borjas, 1994; Espenshade, 1995). The idea of illegal immigrants working on the farms was not as much of a concern in the past, but the lack of other available jobs today is making the issue more significant.

Many immigrant workers use services, but they are not paying taxes on those services (Beasley, 2006). That is another reason that illegal immigrant farm labor is doing more harm than good in the U.S. today. More of the services that are needed by unemployed and low-income U.S. citizens and legal residents are being taken up by those who are not legally in the country (Beasley, 2006; Borjas, 1994). Taxpayers are footing the bill for…

Sources Used in Documents:


Beasley, Vanessa B., ed. (2006). Who Belongs in America?: Presidents, Rhetoric, And Immigration. TX: Texas A&M University Press.

Borjas, G.J. (1994). "The economics of immigration," Journal of Economic Literature, v 32, pp. 1667 -- 717.

Espenshade, Thomas J. (1995). "Unauthorized Immigration to the United States" Annual Review of Sociology, v 21, pp. 195+

Ngai, Mae M. (2004). Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America. NY: Princeton University Press.

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