Farmers brace for labor shortage under new policy

Dec 28, 2014 11:19 AM by News Staff

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - Farmers already scrambling to find workers in California fear a greater labor shortage under President Barack Obama's executive action to protect some 5 million people from deportation.

Manuel Cunha of the Fresno-based Nisei Farmers League said that 50,000 California farmworkers may leave seasonal field jobs for year-around work building homes, cooking in restaurants and cleaning hotel rooms.

California's $46 billion agriculture industry leads the nation.

Cunha, who advises the White House, says immigration reform needs to come from Congress.

Jason Resnick of the Western Growers trade association says Obama's action doesn't create a stream of new workers.

Ed Kissam of the immigrant advocacy group, WKF Giving Fund, says he doubts a significant number of farmworkers will leave the industry because they often lack language skills and education needed to advance.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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