California’s Central Valley, the hub of the state’s agricultural business, provides more than half the produce grown in the United States, and in 2016 the region overwhelmingly supported for Donald Trump. Now, the farmers who helped put Trump in office are experiencing a critical shortage of farmworkers—and nobody is stepping up to take the jobs.
The flow of labor began drying up when President Obama tightened the border but now Trump’s immigration and deportation policies are starting to hurt California farmers who are being forced to make difficult choices about whether to abandon some of the state’s hallmark fruits and vegetables, move operations abroad, import workers under a special visa or replace them altogether with machines. The pay rises and new perks have not tempted native-born Americans to leave their day jobs for the fields,” they continue. “Nine in 10 agriculture workers in California are still foreign born, and more than half are undocumented, according to a federal survey.