At first blush, I'm sure some will find the news of big California ag firms expanding operations in Mexico to be a negative reaction to increased enforcement against illegal immigration.
Look deeper, however, and this is yet more proof that a constant and escalating enforcement will create an attrition in the illegal population in the U.S. -- and will allow agricultural capitalism to begin to work properly without the distortion of an amnesty.
Due to the success of recent immigration raids, U.S. farmers are setting up operations in Mexico because they are having a hard time finding cheap labor that cannot be deported.
A recent survey by the Western Growers Associations shows that American companies now farm more than 45,000 acres and employ more than 11,000 people. Agricultural labor economist James Holt said that, "Employers can't find enough legal workers to replace this huge number of illegal workers....Their only option is to go where the workers are."
In the face of enormous opposition from both sides of the aisle, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid opted to drop the agricultural amnesty from the Iraq Supplemental Spending Bill.
Reid decided to drop language, submitted by Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Larry Craig, that would have given a path to citizenship for 1.3 million illegal agricultural workers, as well as their families.
At least 100 immigration agents raided the Agriprocessing plant in Postville, Iowa, at around 10 am (cst) on Monday, May 12. Immigration officials told local authorities that 600-700 arrests were expected at the plant -- a facility that employees around 1,000 individuals.
The ICE raid was executed to look for evidence of suspected identity theft and fraudlent use of Social Security numbers, among other crimes. Immigration agents were also granted permission to investigate individuals suspected of being in the United States illegally.