Oct 23, 2017Report: Michigan apple growers crimped by labor needs
Apples are big business in Michigan. As the state’s most valuable fruit crop, apples brought in $293 million in 2016, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Great Lakes Region. And as the season winds down, getting the crop off the trees is no easy task for the migrant workers who pick them one at a time.
The Detroit Free Press published a story Oct. 22, stating that this year, Michigan had roughly 45,000 jobs available for migrant workers, starting with bedding plants in February, vegetable and fruit season starting with asparagus and wrapping up with apples in the fall, and ending with Christmas trees in November, according to a statement from the Michigan Farm Bureau.
According to the Free Press:
“While better work opportunities have conspired to lured many young migrant workers away from Michigan agriculture, the Trump administration’s immigrant policies have also threatened to shrink the migrant worker pool. The days of having to turn migrant workers away are over, farmers told the Free Press.
As promised during his campaign, the Trump administration has toughened immigration enforcement and is proposing new laws that would decrease the number of immigrants. Under President Barack Obama, the U.S. targeted for deportation undocumented immigrants who committed crimes, but under Trump, all undocumented immigrants are subject to deportation, Dept. of Homeland Security leaders have said.
In Michigan, deportations have increased with raids in Detroit, Ypsilanti, Pontiac, and other cities, say community leaders.
This month, the Trump administration released its immigration plans, reiterating the plan to build a wall on the border with Mexico, and to slash federal funding to cities that declare themselves “sanctuaries” for immigrants. Trump has said that any solution to the issue of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), the children of undocumented immigrants, must be linked to funding for a border wall along Mexico.”