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Illegal workers don't take away jobs Americans want

Despite the recession, and high levels of unemployment, American workers by and large do not want to labor on California farms, according to an Associated Press analysis.

Most Americans simply don't apply to harvest fruits and vegetables and the few Americans who do usually don't stay in the fields, wrote reporter Garance Burke.

The majority of farmers rely on illegal labor to harvest their crops, but they can also use the H-2A Guest Worker Program, which allows farmers to recruit foreign workers as long as they request the workers months in advance of the harvest season and can show that no Americans want the job.

However, Philip Martin, a UC Davis professor of agricultural and resource economics said that, said few farmers participate in the H-2A program.

"Recruitment of U.S. workers in this program doesn't work well primarily because employers have already identified who they want to bring in from abroad," the story quoted Martin. "I don't think a lot of U.S. workers are going out there looking for a seasonal job paying the minimum wage or a dollar more."

Potato harvest on a California farm.
Potato harvest on a California farm.

Posted on Friday, October 1, 2010 at 10:30 AM
Tags: farmworkers (6), labor (6), Phillip Martin (1)

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