Texas Seeks US Permission To Import Foreign Workers To Its Fields

Persimmon grown near Austin, Texas.Lars Plougmann/CC BY-SA 2.0/Flickr

An official told the Trump administration that importing foreign workers is “critical for our agricultural economy."

It is no secret that immigrant workers are key to America’s agricultural industries, which makes it unsurprising that various sectors are feeling the effects of the Trump administration’s hardline stance on immigration -- from fields of unharvested produce to the Texas shrimp industry.

The Statesman reports that Texas Agricultural Commissioner Sid Miller petitioned the Trump administration Thursday to expand the H-2B visa program and allow more foreign temporary workers to help in the state’s affected industries.

“As Commissioner of Agriculture for the state of Texas, I am encouraging the Trump Administration to take immediate action and open the petition process under the H-2B Nonimmigrant Temporary Worker Program,” Miller said. “This is critical for our agricultural economy, as well as the small and seasonal businesses that rely on the temporary workers provided through the H-2B program in Texas.”

“As I’ve always said, Texas agriculture is on the forefront of the legal immigration issue,” Miller said. “Ag producers want a strong and clear legal immigration system where non-immigrant workers can help American industries survive, especially seasonal ones like shrimping, then leave the U.S. and return home. Stronger border security and cracking down on illegal immigration both serve to strengthen legal immigration, which in turn, helps our economy.”

The plea was addressed to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and indicated federal assistance in the matter would be the difference between failure and success for the companies affected and economies they help support.

No H2B visas. Farmers should cowboy up, offer a competitive wage, benefit, and working condition package sufficient to attract citizen and legal resident labor. Whe the price of food rises to its fair market value, we can all enjoy the fruits of our over-heated jingoism. Wealthy American planters have never been able to wean themselves from chattel labor and consumers have been willfully ignorant of that truth for the last 150 years.

The moment you make farmers pay well for the labor they will have to charge more for the product. It is the very thing people again raising the minimum wage of said and I don't know if there is anything to say otherwise. You said so basically yourself, "Wealthy American planters have never been able to wean themselves from chattel labor." And if we could bring in the chinese to do it cheaper we would.

Of course we realize that... but growth is painful, what Richard was saying and apparently you willfully ignored, is that it is about time that Farmers stop using the equivalence to slave labor to harvest their crops. That, it is about time for the majority white rural folks to once more get their asses into the fields and harvest their own crops.. either that or they rot in the fields. Will it cost farmers more to have white labor.. yes, will it cost consumers more to eat that produce... yes.. But that is the price we will have to pay.. if you want to stay on the same vein and punish immigrants that come to America.. legally or otherwise.. when the bigot sees a mexican in the store purchasing items, speaking spanish and starts screeching at them to speak english in 'merica, they don't know what their status is.. I would tell the Mexicans to stay away for awhile... let us suffer our own indignation.

Thanks for saying it for me.

Well said.