The Pueblo Chieftain reports illegal aliens are returning to Mexico after recent ICE enforcement activity in Colorado. This is prompting growers to increase their reliance on legal guest workers or to shift away from crops that require field labor.
Increased ICE enforcement led to the arrest of 14 illegal aliens the Pueblo area this year. Sources said illegal aliens are now self-deporting “rather than run the risk of having a parent arrested or even sentenced to prison for immigration violations.”
Due to the risk of arrest, "Fewer and fewer local people have been taking part in the (farm) labor pool anymore," grower Michael Hirakata said. He applied for 60 federal H-2A worker visas this year. "I know growers in this area have also changed their crops in response. You don't see as many onions being grown anymore because that's a crop that requires field workers."
The Colorado Department of Labor reports that growers filed applications for 316 H-2A visas this year, up from 234 in 2016.
Read more in The Pueblo Chieftain.
Updated: Fri, Jul 14th 2017 @ 2:09pm EDT