Donald Trump warned us from the start that he wanted to target all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US for deportation, but apparently some pro-Trump California farmers profiled in this New York Times piece thought he was all bark and no bite. Now that Trump’s Deportation Force is cranking up — see the tragic story of a newly-deported mom of two US citizens here — they’re suddenly very worried about the immigrant workforce that keeps their farms alive:
As for his promises about cracking down on illegal immigrants, many assumed Mr. Trump’s pledges were mostly just talk. But two weeks into his administration, Mr. Trump has signed executive orders that have upended the country’s immigration laws. Now farmers here are deeply alarmed about what the new policies could mean for their workers, most of whom are unauthorized, and the businesses that depend on them.
“Everything’s coming so quickly,” Mr. Marchini said. “We’re not loading people into buses or deporting them, that’s not happening yet.” As he looked out over a crew of workers bent over as they rifled through muddy leaves to find purple heads of radicchio, he said that as a businessman, Mr. Trump would know that farmers had invested millions of dollars into produce that is growing right now, and that not being able to pick and sell those crops would represent huge losses for the state economy. “I’m confident that he can grasp the magnitude and the anxiety of what’s happening now.”
Wait, Trump taking time from worrying about his inauguration size to understand the economic and social devastation of his mass deportation policies? Good luck with that.
According to the Times, approximately 70% of all farmworkers living in the US are undocumented, working long hours for low wages while the California farming industry reaps the benefits to the tune of $21 billion annually. Now it seems these farmers are understanding that the tax cuts Trump promised them on the campaign trail will be chump change compared to the financial ruin they’ll see when Trump deports their workers.
Now, no one wants to see this industry suffer — remember, these farms help feed the nation and are the livelihood of many immigrants — but it’s time to get serious. For years now, farmers have supported Republicans who offer broken promises to fix the broken immigration system — looking at you, Kevin McCarthy — while leaving immigration advocates and groups like United Farm Workers to do the work of protecting undocumented farmworkers and their families from exploitation and deportation.
Farmers are going to face a huge test very soon. Donald Trump has already proved to them that he’s going to let them down. So will they instead turn to Congressional Republicans and force them to do the right thing and protect undocumented farmworkers and immigrants, and, in turn, American businesses? Only time will tell.