Today, most farm workers are immigrants from Latin America, with over 60% undocumented (Southern Poverty Law Center). The vast majority of our nation’s farm workers are from Mexico and Central America, although many African Americans and immigrants from other regions of the world (particularly Asia) continue to work in the fields.
The agricultural industry claims that there is a labor shortage, but farm worker advocates counter that if wages and conditions were acceptable, this shortage would not exist. The perceived shortage has resulted in the exponential growth of the H-2A seasonal worker program. H-2A seasonal guest workers currently provide 8% of annual crop farm labor – up from 2% in the 1990s (Migration Policy Institute). In 2017, over 200,000 H-2A jobs were certified, and in 2018 this number is expected to be higher. Learn more about the H-2A program here.
Download the Immigration & Farm Worker Policy Timeline