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Researchers at University of California, Davis say that in the Central Valley, about 70 percent of farm workers are in the U.S. illegally, reports the Times. "The impact could reverberate throughout the valley’s precarious economy, where agriculture is by far the largest industry. With 6.5 million people living in the valley, the fields in this state bring in $35 billion a year and provide more of the nation’s food than any other state."
|Workers riffle through muddy leaves to |
find ripe, purple heads of radicchio.
(NYT photo by Max Whittaker)
"Many growers here and across the country are hopeful that the new administration will expand and simplify H-2A visas, which allow them to bring in temporary workers from other countries for agricultural jobs," the Times reports. "California farmers have increasingly come to rely on the program in the last few years."
Central Valley farmers "say that legalizing the existing work force should be the first priority," reports the Times. "While they support the idea of deporting immigrants who have been convicted of serious crimes, they oppose forcing people to leave the country for minor crimes, like driving without a license."