“It seems there is a bigger rush to Mexico and elsewhere,” Tom Nassif, the Western Growers president, told Preston, adding that that Central American countries also are drawing American farms. Although there are no official stats on American farms in Mexico, Preston reports that U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has "displayed a map on the Senate floor in July locating more than 46,000 acres that American growers were cultivating in just two Mexican states, Guanajuato and Baja California." There, American growers have a steady and cheap workforce, which they pay about $11 per day, instead of $9 an hour back in California.
Of the 2.5 million farm workers in the United States, an estimated 53 percent are illegal immigrants, according to the Department of Labor. Preston reports that growers and labor unions say "as much as 70 percent of younger field hands are illegal." With illegal immigration targeted by authorities, farmers must find a way to maintain their workforce, here or abroad.