The promise of wide-spread deportation of illegal immigrants was a cornerstone of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, and as a Trump presidency draws near, agricultural experts are emphasizing the massive impact that anti-immigrant policies could have on the American food system.
While mass deportation of illegal immigrants would profoundly impact a number of industries, perhaps none would be hit as hard as agriculture. According to the United States Department of Agriculture's report on Immigration and the Rural Workforce, undocumented workers make up 67 percent of fruit harvesters and 61 percent of vegetable farm employees. It is also estimated that up to 50 percent of all workers picking crops are undocumented.
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Due to these overwhelming numbers, many agricultural economists have noted that a rapid decrease in the immigrant workforce would inevitably send shock waves through the entire food system, The Washington Post reports.