President-elect Donald Trump’s victory has largely been painted as the result of small-town America rejecting urban-elite America, but at least one faction of the nation’s rural communities aren’t particularly hopeful about the forthcoming administration.
To some in the agriculture industry, Trump’s pledge to deport or imprison up to 3 million undocumented immigrants who are currently living in the U.S. and “have criminal records” — a campaign promise he reiterated on “60 Minutes” on Sunday — could spell disaster for the farming workforce, which relies heavily on immigrant labor.
The Labor Department estimates that about half of the nation’s 2.5 million farmworkers are undocumented. It’s unclear whether these laborers would be included in Trump’s mass deportation plan. The agricultural industry has said repeatedly that domestic workers show no interest in doing the jobs that immigrants and migrants do.
That uncertainty is already bothering many of these workers, according to Bruce Goldstein, executive director of Farmworker Justice, a nonprofit advocacy group that works to empower migrant and seasonal farmworkers.
“These threats of deportation are causing them great anxiety,” Goldstein told The Huffington Post. “Farmworkers and their children are aware of these discussions and it makes them fearful for what’s going to happen. It would deprive them of jobs, split up their families and subject them to great harm.”
Many ag employers also appear to be feeling uneasy.
Many in the industry rely on the Department of Labor’s H-2A temporary agricultural worker program for seasonal assistance harvesting their crops, which is already being criticized for…