In a letter to Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Janet Napolitano, Senator Diane Feinstein (D–CA) has asked that DHS stop enforcing immigration law regarding farm workers:
Immigration and Customs Enforcement has wisely used its prosecutorial discretion to defer removal of young people who arrived in the United States without documentation as children.… I respectfully suggest that you adopt a similar policy of exercising prosecutorial discretion to defer enforcement against agricultural employers and workers.
In other words, “We already aren’t enforcing the law for some, so why can’t we keep doing it for others in order to help my state?”
California is the nation’s top producing agricultural state. With approximately 81,000 farms, from Napa to Fresno, the state produces everything from grapes and oranges to figs and avocados. During peak harvest time, the $44 billion industry employs more than 400,000 workers.
For the second year in a row, however, farmers report experiencing shortages in workers. Many factors are likely at play here, including increased economic opportunity in Mexico and the resurgence of the construction industry in the U.S. Senator Feinstein, however, seems to place the blame almost solely on the Obama Administration’s attempts to enforce the law against agricultural workers who are illegal immigrants.
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