Bummer: Michigan Apple Growers Are Super Concerned Over Crackdown On Illegals

Bummer: Michigan Apple Growers Are Super Concerned Over Crackdown On Illegals

This WZZM article, which looks to have originated in the Detroit Free Press by Susan Selazky, does everything possible to minimize the notion that the apples are being picked by many, many illegal aliens, attempting to make it seem as if they are lawful

Michigan apple growers could lose millions without migrant workers

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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.

These moves have caused uncertainty and fear among immigration populations.

Earlier this season Steffens said he scrambled to get workers for his 300 acres. “This year we had zero extra people,” he said. “We had a few new people from blueberries, but there are zero people just showing up.”

Perhaps they shouldn’t be relying on illegal aliens to do the work? More than enough temporary work permits are being handed out. If no one is showing up, it’s most likely because they do not have a work permit.

Michigan ranks fifth in the nation for registered migrant and seasonal farm workers, according to the Michigan Apple Committee (MAC). If the U.S. adopts “enforcement-only immigration reform,” it could result in a 61% decline in fruit production because of fewer workers, MAC reports citing data from the Partnership for a New American Economy.

That really sounds like they are relying on illegals, does it not? BTW, there are more than enough Americans on government assistance who do not work and are capable of working. They’d be perfect.

Now, the article started out with the usual Human Drama, featuring Juan Carlos and his partner Adela Hernandez, and how they do a super awesome job picking apples

For more than 18 years Carlos and Hernandez, who live most of the year in Florida, have helped insure successful crops at Steffens Orchard. But this year they are working under a cloud. While both say they have the proper documentation to work, they are still afraid.

Through a translator, Juan Carlos said, “with the new president it’s getting harder to travel.” Carlos said he is worried about “driver’s licenses (renewal) and being stopped by the police and being deported.”

Temporary work visas/migrant work visas do not last 18 years. How does one have “proper documentation” for this? And they’ve been here for 18 years, and still need a translator? What’s the over/under that both are, in fact, unlawfully present?

Steffens agrees that immigration reform is needed, but he is in favor of changes that don’t hurt U.S. businesses, the economy or people that want to work.

“There’s a population that is stuck. They’re not criminals, they are contributing to our economy, they want to follow the law but are unable to,” he said  “They can’t see their families, they can’t travel, but yet are working. But they’re stuck in a system. It’s a shame.”

If they can’t travel to visit their families, that’s because it would be difficult for them to return to the U.S. since they were not authorized to be in the U.S. in the first place. If they want to follow the law, well, they had their chance. The article tries this with another person while tip-toeing around the fact that the person has to be unlawfully present.

To fill his need, Brett Anderson of AB Orchards in Sparta is using the H-2A visa program for the second year. This season he’s got about  20 workers.

“It’s more expensive,” said Anderson, “but the security and ability that we will get our crop harvested on time outweighs the cost.”

Anderson estimates it costs an additional 25%-30% to use H-2A workers. He goes through a contractor who does the necessary paperwork, sets up the number of workers, and arranges for their transportation to and from Mexico.

“It’s a legal, efficient and reliable way to get people,” he said.

So, there is an actual program to do this legally. Huh.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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