US farmers blame Republicans for labor shortage

US farmers blame Republicans for labor shortageAgricultural business owners were once a guaranteed voting bloc for the Republican Party, but that may be changing as they struggle to find American labor willing to carry out such demanding physical tasks and cannot find immigrant workers due to the ever stricter enforcement of legislation being carried out both on the border and within the United States.

Farmers have been unable to benefit from the increase in the consumption of fresh produce in the country due to the fact that domestic production has fallen short, resulting in an annual loss in farm income of as much as $1.4 billion, according to the New York Times.  As a consequence, farmers are increasingly coming to view the Republican Party as being the major problem.

Some say that Republicans are responsible for blocking changes to immigration policies that would resolve a great deal of their labor issues and as result have turned into one of the more vocal industry groups to try pressurizing Congress, and members of the Republican Party in particular, into advancing the immigration reform legislation that has come to a standstill in the House of Representatives.

“We’ve had secure borders with Mexico for the last decade:” says the Western Growers Association president, Tom Nassif, who has made a number of trips to Washington to plead the case for reform. “We don’t have that argument at this point. Now we want people to see the real damage of not doing anything, which is a declining workforce and it means losing production to foreign countries.”