If you listen to Donald Trump — and, judging by the polls, a surprisingly large number of people are — immigration is an abomination. In The World According to the Donald, migrants, especially from Mexico, are “criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc.” who have been sent by the Mexican government to undermine the United States, with a few “good people” accidentally tossed into the mix.
In the real world, immigration is one of the biggest reasons for America’s economic success. Immigrants, legal or illegal, skilled or unskilled, Mexican or otherwise, are an important contributor to our economic growth. One doesn’t have to imagine that the U.S. actually tries to implement Trump’s proposed roundup and deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants to see the negative effect of having fewer immigrants around to power the American economy.
Farmers are already feeling the effect of a drop in immigration brought about by improvements in the Mexican economy, which means fewer people are willing to take back-breaking jobs as farmhands. As The Wall Street Journal reports, “the decline in workers is reducing fruit and vegetable production by 9.5 percent, or $3.1 billion, a year, according to a recently published analysis of government data by the Partnership for a New American Economy, a nonpartisan group that supports a looser immigration policy.” The Journal notes that “farm companies are wooing employees by raising wages faster than inflation and enhancing medical and other benefits. Even so, many farms say these efforts have failed to meaningfully address their worker shortfalls.”