Lowering The Use of Migrant Farm Workers

By Zulema Chavez


Over the past several years, the U.S has grown dependent on illegal immigrant farm workers on the production of food . According to PEW Research Center illegal immigrants make-up an estimated amount of 17% on agricultural farms. That’s about  54,213,000 undocumented that “Cost U.S. taxpayers about $113 billion a year at the federal, state and local level…” http://www.fairus.org/publications/the-fiscal-burden-of-illegal-immigration-on-united-states-taxpayers. I believe that we can replace the need for illegal migrant worker with the use of innovative technology.  

We live in a era where technology is at its peak. Industrial agriculture has already made a movement by using “Farm Robots”to help fruits. In 2004 Derek Morikawa, CEO of Vision Robotics, was approached by California Citrus Research Board  to trail their two “robotic picker”. During the trail the robotic picker was able to locate all the oranges, and the second would pick them. Another example of technology replacing the need for an illegal migrant worker are on how we pick out lettuce. Blue river has came out with the “See and Spray” that uses video cameras and visual-recognition software to identify which lettuce plants to eliminate with a squirt of concentrated fertilizer that kills the unwanted buds while enriching the soil. http://www.bluerivert.com/. Replacing illegal migrant farm workers with technological machines, can provide relive any short of costly labor and increase quality of the fruit or vegetable leading to more consistent produce. 


Source: Vision Robotics

In conclusion, with the advancement of technology farmers will be able to cut down on the use of illegal immigrant farm workers. I believe with the reinforcement and push farms will be able to replace more or less of the  54,213,000 undocumented workers. 

More Sources: 





About the Author: 

I am someone who likes to see other options.


Citizenship For Mexican Migrant Workers: A Balanced Approach

                                                                                                                                         by Amy Bennett, November 8, 2016

The issue of U.S. citizenship for migrant farm workers from Mexico who have entered the United States illegally is quite complex and there are widely differing views on how it should be handled. I believe that the benefits outweigh the negative factors when it comes to providing a path to legal citizenship for these individuals. This includes benefits to the migrant farm workers as well as benefits to our nation as a whole.

Migrant Workers Farm Crops In Southern CA...HOLTVILLE, CA - OCTO

When discussing the matter of agricultural workers who have entered the U.S. from Mexico illegally, it is important to consider the views of those opposing their presence. The most common concerns are related to financial support of the workers and increased crime rates among illegal immigrant workers. The following link provides a detailed list of reasons given by those who favor deportation of agricultural workers in the United States who entered illegally. http://www.usmessageboard.com/threads/61-reasons-to-deport-illegal-aliens.137362/     Although concerns about increased crime rate due to unauthorized immigrants are common (the majority of U.S. citizens share this concern to some extent), they are not statistically valid.  Professor Aaron Chalfin states in his Oxford University Press article that his research does not support a correlation between increasing rates of unauthorized immigration and increased rates of crime.http://blog.oup.com/2013/11/does-mexican-immigration-lead-to-more-crime-in-us-cities/

As far as the financial impact of undocumented migrants on U.S. taxpayers, the answer lies in providing a path to legal citizenship for these individuals. That would allow for them to have official jobs and paychecks instead of being paid under the table by bosses who would be likely to take advantage of their unauthorized status to pay them less than minimum wage, not offer health insurance, and offer only substandard housing. If they were allowed to become U.S. citizens, they would pay taxes themselves instead of needing to rely on the tax dollars of others. Their living situations would be more stable and their income would be more secure, which would lead to less poverty and therefore less crime. They would be able to legally enroll their children in school, which would naturally lead to a higher education level for the next generation and even less reliance on welfare, government housing, and government funded health care.


Of course, it does not make good sense to simply grant automatic citizenship to every person that has entered the U.S.  There may have to be quotas limiting the program to a certain specified number of people per year. The main qualifiers should be ability to provide for oneself, lack of a criminal record, and a verifiable source of employment, sponsorship by someone who is already a law abiding and financially stable U.S. citizen, a plan for learning English, and a housing plan. Those that are able to meet those basic requirements should be strongly considered for U.S. citizenship.

There are benefits to our nation to providing a path to legal citizenship to foreign born agricultural workers.  These include availability of high quality farm products at an affordable cost to U.S. consumers as well as improved wages and working conditions for all farm workers, including those born in the United States who are already citizens. This is well documented in the following article: http://www.farmworkerjustice.org/advocacy-and-programs/agjobs.


Working on this team blog project has helped me to expand my viewpoint on this topic due to the necessity of hearing and considering the viewpoints of other members of my group. This healthy discussion about an important and complicated issue that affects us all was a valuable opportunity to sharpen my thinking, to research a topic, and to sharpen my communication skills.

In conclusion, after considering opposing viewpoints, I support a limited path to legal citizenship for undocumented agricultural workers who have entered the U.S. from Mexico. The exact details of that program are far beyond the scope of this post, but I feel that the benefits of such a program to all involved warrant attention and action from our government officials.

Here are some additional sources that I consulted while preparing this blog post:




About The Blogger:

Amy Bennett is a friend and neighbor to many hard-working Mexican Americans in her community north of Dallas, Texas. She’s an enthusiastic consumer of fresh produce, much of which is harvested by migrant farm workers. She has been on staff at a school where many of her students and/or their parents were natives of Mexico.  She considers herself a citizen of the world first and foremost.  She loves her country, and believes it’s possible to keep it safe and secure without building a wall to keep people out. She’s passionate about freedom, equal rights, and opportunity for all.








The broken immigration system.

Migrant farmers leave their country in the hopes of a better life in America, but being here illegally does not give them the same benefits as those with citizenship’s. Not all farm workers are illegal, but about 6 out of 10 are. The reason for that is with our immigration system today, it is so broken and difficult to obtain citizenship without having family here with citizenship, or having money. Most immigrants come here leaving their country to try to make more money and build a life for their kids and future generations. So why make it so difficult to let them live here? In this article; http://nfwm.org/education-center/farm-worker-issues/farm-workers-immigration/ the writer talks about how immigrants lack basic rights, they are being treated less than the citizens of this country and are unable to obtain their own citizenship because of it. The system contradicts itself in that way, leaving immigrants to come to America wanting a better life and some to be educated but cannot do anything without the assistance of money or an education.


People can wait multiple years for getting their citizenship approved, and are forced to try to build a life around it. In the article; http://otherwords.org/latest-crack-in-our-broken-immigration-system/ the author Diana Torres talks about a Mexican immigrants personal experience with the Immigration system that is still the same today, she talks about how he had to leave Mexico in order to survive, but has waited about 16 years for a green card.

The immigration system is long and complex, if it were to be simplified and easier to get through out country we have a significantly less number of illegal immigrants. There are more than 40 million immigrants who came here in search for a better life for themselves and their families, and less than half are naturalized U.S citizens. The United States could benefit from an immigration system that is more responsive to the economic conditions. In our current immigration system, legal immigrants don’t disrupt the business cycle in the US. This meaning if all immigrants are legalized then they will not take up all the jobs and throw off the balance of the business cycle.

Initially our steps in revising the immigration system should be, by strengthening our border patrol, finding out what companies are hiring undocumented immigrants, try to provide a simpler path for undocumented immigrants so we can boost our economy and keep families together and helping them live out the American dream.