Market forces, though, have had a greater impact on peoples’ decisions to come, or stay, or return, than any other factor. Mexican migration is now said to be “net-zero” and it is worth noting that Mexico’s fertility rate has dropped to 2.2, just a fraction above the U.S. rate. It was just announced that there are more Asians immigrating to the U.S. than Hispanics.
Q: Will other initiatives for immigration reform benefit agriculture?
A: There are only two other strongly relevant aspects of immigration reform right now. One is the need to modify our policies to allow more educated immigrants to live here and innovate here and contribute to the high end of our economy. The other is the need for agricultural workers.
There is no clear path to achieving either right now given the level of dysfunction in U.S. politics. But for agriculture, the nation would benefit from some way for experienced workers to enter into a legal working status.
Better legal paths for future workers on a temporary basis are part of the answer. The realization in the United States is growing that we need something other than the flawed H-2A structure, such as more modern, flexible, and market-based immigration reform.