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The agricultural business in the Central Valley is a thriving sector resulting from using exploited labor. It relies on cheap labor to make enormous profits by abusing the worker’s rights, paying them low wages, and working in poor conditions because employing legal farm workers means fair wages and better working conditions. Besides that, racism has been employed to label the farm workers as second-class citizens. Despite all of this, the agriculture business in Central Valley continues to receive little attention, and so it continues relying heavily on undocumented workers to harvest perishable crops (Congress (U.S) 98).
This paper seeks to investigate how contradictory laws, policies, and attitudes that have fuelled the illegal and undocumented labor from immigrants continue to be unabated. Why is there a discrepancy between the perception of immigrant’s impact on the economy and the reality? Are immigrants good or bad for the economy? The majority of Americans, that is 74 percent, would want to see illegal immigration stopped to curb undocumented labor. This is because of awareness that it is harmful to the economy, and thus weakens it. However, the same group enjoys its benefits of cheap goods and services, and so they would prefer rather the status quo (Chris et al).
The paper will focus on the nation’s labor polices to discuss how contradictory they are in their efforts to eradicate exploitation of farm workers in the struggle for human dignity. Notably, the Central Valley has formed the United Farm worker’s Association, which is solely meant for fighting for better working conditions for migrant farm workers. The paper will look at the reasons why such organizations and other laid policies. For example, in November 1986, the United States Congress passed the most sweeping reforms of federal immigration laws to curtail immigrants to the country, but after more than two decades, there is still no success over this issue. However, the most recent development, and quite effective is the REAL ID Act whose implementation has assisted in identification of persons. Economists, on the other hand, have contradictory view over the issue; the consensus among them is that, whether legal or illegal, both practices provide a net boost to the economy. However, this is contradictory. To ensure an immune agricultural sector, there is a need to get rid of unhealthy competition and malpractice mostly by illegitimate immigrants who venture into this industry. Consequently, the policies against unlawful immigrant labor would make a great impact on reforming this sector (Bakersfield & Visalia et al).
The other argument that will be addressed is why there are contradictions in this issue, even when the majority of Americans are eager to see this practice completely abolished. Is it because its absolute abolishment would make it impossible for them to get the benefits of cheap goods and services? Why is there a discrepancy between the perception of immigrants’ impact on the economy and the reality? In fact, the impact of the immigrants on the economy would be beneficial if the policies laid down to address the issue had a bias legal framework to accommodate them. Why are there varying attitudes on an issue from varying quarters? These are the most substantial issues that this paper seeks to tackle in the most comprehensive manner (Bakersfield et al).
The paper will also look at the reasons why the workers are afraid to speak out. The input of their concerns would play a tremendous role in tailoring the industry since they are crucial stakeholders whose impact cannot be ignored. There might be a definite solution to the issue apart from deportation, which many workers are very afraid of in such circumstances. In addition, it s crucial to consider what other policies can be laid out for the benefit of both the workers and the economy (Martin & Taylor et al).
First, addressing the issue of undocumented labor and human diversity and dependence of the central valley on it for running agricultural operations requires sobriety to establish a common ground. In fact, the U.S population statistical data is a breakthrough on how significant the issue of undocumented labor is to its economy. In approximate figures, the population of illegal immigrants who reside in the U.S is about ten million people. In addition to these shocking facts, the numbers of approximated illegal immigrants into the U.S are about one thousand and four hundred persons on a daily basis. Given that the illegal immigrants are solely looking for employment opportunities, they have occupied the great geographical agricultural sector of California and Texas. Consequently, the population has spread to other states over the years since 1990 in search of employment. The most convincing argument for undocumented labor provided by immigrants is that they promote the agriculture by taking up jobs the Americans have refused to work on, and provided cheap labor at the same time. In fact, undocumented has led to a lower cost of production in agriculture and consequent relatively affordable prices of agricultural products for the American population. Critically, the dependence of the central valley on undocumented labor has a great impact on the society, which is typically positive and surpasses the negatives argued by those opposing undocumented labor in the U.S. The approach used to eliminate undocumented labor is irrational since it does not deal with the root of the problem. In fact, the emergence of undocumented labor has its roots in illegal immigration into the U.S. The most sensitive aspect of this issue is that undocumented labor cannot be curbed unless the federal government entirely wipes out illegal immigration into the U.S. Illegal immigrants are the source of cheap, undocumented labor mainly in California; America’s leading breadbasket in the agricultural economy (Congress (U.S) 98).
The attempt to do away with undocumented labor for the central valley, the dominant agricultural hub of California would topple the food and financial security of millions of people whose livelihoods are dependent on this industry. California is definitely the undisputable leader in agricultural production as well as exportation in the U.S. The state has the advantage of the fertile central valley, which indeed is the backbone of its flourishing agricultural enterprise. An analysis of the California agricultural activities reflect that the state supplies more than half of the fruits consumed in the country. Financially, the agricultural economy of California generates approximately thirty five billion of revenue to the federal government. However, the legal aspects and thermodynamics dictate the nature in which this business is conducted. A rational analyst would tell that the central valley agriculture is in dire need of manual labor to process the goods and achieve financial gain as it has in the past and the recent years. Undocumented labor is known and an overt practice, since the fundamental illegal immigrants are the means of support for most farming processes. The central valley has a specialty in fragile products and stone fruits. Technically, such products are not suitable for mechanical handling thus manual labor is necessary for harvesting, post harvesting activities and packaging processes. Given their perish ability; these commodities are quite delicate necessitating gentle handling to make it out of the farms to the market place. It is no secret that perishable commodities need to be transported to the market place in time to realize profits. However, absence of cheap manual labor would make this enterprise collapse drastically. Leaders of the California agriculture business are indefatigable in their opposition to the bill introduced a Texas representative, Lamar Smith, which would require all Californian workers to explore Electronic Verify system to check potential workers to hire hence avoid undocumented labor. However, the leaders’ stance is to bring down the bill or have it amended to accommodate the unique conditions of the California food system. The California Farm Bureau Federal is also of this point of view and affirms that this is the only means to prevent the agriculture economy of California from collapsing. Indeed, the issue has gained moment and vast attention and reactionary during this period of excessive unemployment (Chris et al).
The central valley dependence on undocumented labor cannot be changed overnight by a legislation to legalize all farm workers since the situation itself it tied to several issues that a tough puzzle to solve amicably. In fact, the central valley knows no other labor their industry other than the undocumented labor that serves their farms currently. The industry has thrived on this labor for several decades and abolishment of this labor would definitely cause. In essence, Americans are reluctant to take up the farming business especially the customary way. Consequently, the farmers in the central valley are caught up in a risky situation. Abolishment of the undocumented labor would leave them without a source of the manual labor, which the American population cannot provide. Valley farmers attempt to adhere to the federal government’s guest worker program, but it is a strenuous affair since a farmer is a required to hire a large number of workers. This is cumbersome given the short window of time, and the hardships of predicting the accurate amount of harvest one is likely to harvest, which is impossible. These constraints make some farmers to ignore the law since they have readily available illegal undocumented labor force to service their farms. The proper strategy to straighten the labor force at the central valley would be to legalize the undocumented labor or rather labor due to the complexity of the issue in this context. The implications of abolishing undocumented labor would be severe for the central valley farmers given that farmers would have no option in instances they are no enough documented labor to harvest the crops and tend livestock. The challenge lies here since California’s economy would drastically underperform and affect the whole nation as well (Chris et al).
In an attempt to trace the origin of undocumented labor, the emergence has a quite lengthy history and most legal advances to eliminate have not been successful due to the economical aspect of the issue. The larger population of immigrants who make up the undocumented labor in the U.S and the central valley of California in particular are the Mexican immigrants. Economically the U.S provided them with an opportunity to make a living better than they would back in their rural homes. In addition, the central valley farmers would also consider hiring the labor provided by immigrants for their farm harvesting despite the high number of unemployment for the native residents. However, the guest worker program had not been introduced back then, and posed a challenge on immigration and settlement in California.
Immigration and cohesion is a core objective of governments in both Mexico and the U.S. In fact, the proponents of the abolishment of undocumented labor argue that the immigrants are in violation of the country’s culture by failing to assimilate. The history of American to curb illegal immigration has quite a lot of score about assimilating immigrants to make them a legalized team of human labor. For instance, the U.S made tremendous changes in the welfare system of the immigrants in attempt of assimilating them. The main changes to the welfare system involved establishing time limits for the receipt of financial assistance to the immigrants, which rendered most immigrants illegible for these benefits. This policy played a significant role in screening aliens and curbing illegal immigration. The welfare reform was faced with a wide variety of problems given that there were no jobs other than the agricultural activities of California although some areas such as San Joaquin Valley were in a poor economic shape that would be deemed a third world economy. The welfare reform aimed at supply unskilled labor in the central valley, although it had little effect on demand (Congress (U.S) 158).
It is evident immigration has its implications in the destination country of the immigrants. However, the control of these implications lies mostly with the authorities given the social mobility and integration, which could be effectively, controlled with well-laid integration policies to determine the final consequences of immigration. The standards of equal treatment and non-discrimination would have the repercussion of immigrant inclusion and fetch integration without any hassles. In fact, cohesion in society is the drive of society towards achieving human rights for all persons (Patrick, Irina & European Committee on Migration 86). Consequently, human rights also result in respect for labor rights and unbiased access to benefits of the community to the entire population. In reality, the modern world is still faced with the problem of discrimination against immigrants whether illegal or not. In addition, the exclusion of immigrants from equal access of employment and other social amenities lead undocumented labor since obtaining legal documents is quite a struggle for them. Concerning employment chances, most immigrants do make it to the white-collar jobs and are forced to settle for less paying jobs (Patrick, Irina & European Committee on Migration 90).
A recent attempt to abolish illegal immigration has been the Real Id Act, which was established long in 2005. In 2005, the Real Id was meant to deter terrorist from gaining access into the U.S illegally. However, the same has been used to deter illegal immigrations of all nature. The implementation of the Real Id Act was to enable identification and verification of person and filter illegal immigrants or imposters. In one way or the other, the act has been effective but the undocumented is yet to be wiped out completely despite the act having been enacted several years ago (Congress (U.S) 158).
The predicament of the immigrants who provide undocumented labor for the central valley is equally grief as for the farmers who hire them. Their stance is to make a living out of offering manual labor at the farms since it what they have across, but better pay and recognition and proper recognition and treatment with dignity is not among their priorities since they are hard to acquire. Most immigrants remain enslaved in this lifestyle, which to them is quite a better industry than what they could manage at their rural homes. The only green light that would give them a better, as workers’ recognition is the United Farmworkers’ Association at the grassroots. However, beyond treatment with dignity and recognition, the central valley is bound to rely on them for cheap manual labor to execute the farm operations, which cannot be mechanized (Congress (U.S) 158).
Although central valley farmers are accustomed to undocumented labor, they also practice racism and abusive work ethics to exploit the immigrants for cheap labor under the perspective of taking them as second grade citizens. The farmworkers are too vulnerable to abuse since they have no better opportunities and they compete among themselves for the positions of farm workers since they are highly populated. The number of immigrants being high the concern of fair treatment and better working conditions is not a priority since the pervasive poverty is what they are interested in eliminating (Martin & Taylor, 1010). Therefore, the limited chances of voicing their grievances are left unexploited due to the complications involved. On the other hand, the United Farm workers Association has its mandate to take care of their issues, but the association is so procedural and involves much legislation which are politicized in most cases. Consequently, not many farm workers take their time to participate due to the time consumed in solving these issues. However, the association has been successful on several issues concerning farmer’s credit to the persistent revolutionary leaders of the association and other resilient participants (Bakersfield & Visalia et al).
The challenging aspect for farm workers to voice their grievances it the mechanism used to deal with the issue of undocumented labor. For instance, the federal government policies meant to ease labor shortage were contradictory to what the congress advocated. In 2008, the federal government used a H2-A program to issue temporary visas to immigrant farm workers.
Instead of fiddling, the federal government should have merged with congress to simply the rules and deliver comprehensive changes to reform the labor problem. In fact, the H2-a program violates the due farm workers wages, housing and protections. In addition, the H2 A program is not realistic of the broad U.S economy and its labor requirement. These challenges undermine immigrant farm workers to effectively voice and have their problems resolved (Bakersfield & Visalia et al).
In conclusion, the dependence of the central valley on undocumented labor is a critical issue that has several facets, which must be considered to arrive at an amicable solution for all parties involved. This way the interests of the farmers, immigrant farm workers and the government will be protected and stabilize the economy of California and the whole nation as well.