How Trump’s deportation plan threatens America’s food and wine supply
In January, after Donald Trump takes his oath and starts implementing the policies he promised during his campaign, mass deportations of up to 3 million undocumented migrants will begin.
Reports indicate that there are not enough criminals to achieve Trump’s goal. According to a prominent migration think-tank, only 820,000 immigrants without documentation have been convicted.
Trump will have to deport several millions of immigrants with no criminal record to achieve his goal. This is likely only the beginning, given Trump’s pledge to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
He doesn’t realize how important undocumented workers to the food supply in America are. The research we have done at Cornell and in other agricultural areas shows the impact of his plans on the food and drinks we consume every day.
Who’s on the Net
Law-abiding undocumented immigrants will be caught in the net if it is to meet its stated goal of deporting two to three million. They work in many different industries. About 16 % of the total are employed in agriculture. 12 % in construction. 9 % in hospitality. 6 %) in manufacturing.
Farm workers pick strawberries on a hillside near Oceanside, Calif. AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi.
If all undocumented workers were deported, our economy would be a href=”https://theconversation.com/trumps-immigration-policy-would’s push legal-usworkers down the occupational ladder-68805″>3 percent to 6 percent smaller/a>. Our economy would shrink by 3 to 6 percent if all undocumented employees were deported.
They are the ones who toil in the fields and barns to produce the foods and beverages that are integral to the well-being of our nation. These are the people who work in the fields to make foods and drinks that are essential to the culture and well-being of the United States, even though they cannot afford the products that they produce.
Many Americans enjoyed the traditional Thanksgiving meal last week. Did they think about who made the food? Undocumented immigrants were responsible for the majority of food, including succulent turkeys, perfectly roasted potatoes, and seasoned squash. Immigrants produced the wine or milk that washed down all of this delicious food. Farm workers are at risk of being deported for the Thanksgiving tradition that is so culturally significant to many.
Since immigrants are responsible for much of the work in American agriculture today, it is important to preserve the current workforce. This should also be a priority for consumers who value the food and drinks they enjoy.
What would happen if Trump went ahead with his plans?
Stewards of land
Consider this: the U.S. wine industry is heavily dependent on immigrant workers.
The majority of the immigrants in the wine industry work in vineyards. They do everything from pruning and planting the vines to harvesting and preparing the fruit for sale. They are responsible for the care of the land, as well as scouting for pests, diseases, and water issues. The timing of viticultural techniques and their implementation are important factors in determining wine characteristics.
During the grape harvest, additional workers may be needed. These workers are mostly from the U.S. and have worked in agricultural operations in the past.
If the workers were deported, then who would pick the fruit? Labor costs would increase due to the competition between wineries to hire workers. These costs would then be passed on to consumers via an increase in price.
Hardline immigration hardliners claim that in the absence of local workers, the wine industry may turn to mechanization. The cost for a mechanical harvester can reach US$300,000. This is a steep price tag, especially for small producers. The terrain or the steepness of a vineyard may make it impossible to use a mechanical harvester. The harvesting of fruit by automated means can alter the characteristics of the wine.