How the Ag Industry Exploits Illegal Labor

How the Ag Industry Exploits Illegal Labor

“For the 11 million or so undocumented immigrants who have settled in this country, the path to citizenship being paved for them looks like it will be more tough than fair. While we don’t yet know how this will all play out, at least there will be a path. For one group of immigrants, however – the farm workers who sustain our food supply – there is reason to fear that what awaits them is not a path to citizenship, but their cemented status as indentured servants.Most farm work in America is performed by immigrants, most of whom are undocumented and therefore exploitable,” says

“According to a report compiled by Eric Ruark (pdf), the director of research at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (Fair), as of 2006, only 27% of workers hired by agribusinesses are American citizens, 21% are green card holders, around 1% are part of the guest worker program … and a whopping 51% are unauthorized immigrants. It’s agriculture’s worst kept secret that farm owners routinely break the law by hiring undocumented workers, but the crime receives tacit approval from lawmakers sympathetic to the plight of major agribusinesses, which seem to consider cheap labor their right.”

Obama Adivsor Munoz Faults Congress for Deportations in Web Address

“White House domestic policy adviser Cecilia Muñoz faulted Congress for requiring the deportation of illegal immigrants, even as the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency law enforcement union criticized President Obama’s team for freezing them out of immigration policy discussions,” the Washington Examiner says.

“The ICE union, which a court ruled last week could proceed with a legal challenge to the Obama administration’s decision not to enforce immigration laws for certain types of illegal immigrants, says Muñoz has ignored their concerns about immigration reform proposals.”

Sen. McConnel Firm on Guest Workers

“Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell this week expressed firm support for a guest worker program to help bring in more low-skilled workers for farm labor and other industries. In an exclusive interview with Yahoo News, the Kentucky Republican said any legislation pushed by the Senate ‘Gang of Eight’ must include such a provision,” Yahoo News says.

“‘We need a good guest worker program. The one we have now is not working very well,’ McConnell told Chief Washington Correspondent Olivier Knox, noting it was difficult for farmers to harvest crops without such low-wage assistance. ‘So there’s a practical reality to needing a guest worker program, and I’m sure that will be a part of the final bill.'”

DHS Promotes Welfare Use by Immigrants

“It is an explicit and unambiguous tenet in federal law that those granted entry into the U.S. must be able to support themselves financially. But the Obama Administration has aggressively defied this strict federal statute.­ What are new promises worth when existing law is unilaterally waived?” asks a release by the Senate Republican budget office.

“Relatedly, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has stopped complying with efforts to learn more about his Department’s efforts to enroll immigrants and non-citizens on 15 USDA-administered welfare programs. The Department has even produced and broadcast soap opera-like “radio novelas” featuring individuals who were pressured into accepting benefits despite insisting that government assistance was not needed.”

About Author


Dan is the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s President after joining the organization in 1982. He has testified more than 50 times before Congress, and been cited in the media as "America's best-known immigration reformer." Dan has appeared on virtually every significant TV and radio news/talk program in America and, in addition to being a contributing editor to, has contributed commentaries to a vast number of print media outlets.


  1. avatar

    Dan the problem of exploitation in actually deeper. In Chicago you see all the Dunkin Donuts that ae owned by Indians……exploiting Americans by making them work 60 hours and paying for 40 ONLY no overtime and noboday does anything………………………………………..

  2. avatar

    What is interesting is more of our food comes form Latin America which means as it trends that way less farmwork here. Robotics is also a factor in 10 years as well.

  3. avatar

    I Have a Simple Question

    What % of our American farm food production is now owned by foreigners and foreign corporate powers?

    I’m sure we’d all be horrified if we knew.