The Smoot-Hawley Fence
By Arnold Kling
Be careful what you wish for on border security and illegal immigration. Here is one story.
Carnes ended up with less than 100 workers and fell two weeks behind, with bits and pieces of the fields unpicked. His income fell about $150,000, a significant loss.
…Growers say tightened border security and longer lines for day crossers have cut the numbers of farm workers who cross the border legally or illegally. Illegal immigrant workers who used to travel the country picking different crops as the seasons changed are hesitant to migrate for fear of being caught. And the lure of higher paid jobs with better working conditions, such as construction, are keeping some farm workers away.
The problem is now reaching crisis proportions, food growers say. As much as 30 percent of the year’s pear crop was lost in Northern California, growers estimate. More than one-third of Florida’s Valencia orange crop went unharvested, Regelbrugge said. In New York, apples are rotting on the trees, because workers who once picked the fruit have fled frequent raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, said Maureen Marshall, an apple grower in Elba.
Strong immigration enforcement may be the contemporary equivalent of the Smoot-Hawley tariff.