Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Americas Society/Council of the Americas releases fact sheet on immigration

September 4th, 2013

Five Reasons Why Immigrants are Critical for Our Agricultural Sector

1. With agricultural employers continuously in search of more employees, immigrant workers fill the jobs that the industry desperately needs to remain competitive.

  • Seventy-one percent of crop workers surveyed between 2007 and 2009 were foreign born.1
  • In North Carolina, only seven U.S.-born workers-less than 3 percent of those hired-completed the growing season in 2011, despite an 11 percent unemployment rate in the state. Mexican workers accounted for 90 percent of workers who completed the season.2

2. A reduced agricultural labor force leads to production losses that impact not just that industry but the U.S. economy overall.

  • Expansion of the H-2A temporary agricultural worker program-as envisioned in the Senate immigration bill passed in July-could result in a 3.4 percent increase in fruit exports and a 5.4 percent increase in vegetable exports.3
  • An expansion of the H-2A program would add $6.6 billion to U.S. GDP and $3.3 billion to personal income by 2017.4
  • Without comprehensive immigration reform, a shrinking agricultural labor force will lead to $5 to $9 billion in production losses every year.5
  • In 2011, after passage of HB 87, a law that restricted immigrant job opportunities in Georgia, the state suffered an estimated $300 million loss in harvested crops and a $1 billion hit to the overall economy.6

3. Immigrant farm laborers create jobs for U.S.-born individuals in areas of the economy beyond agriculture.

  • In 2012, every three to five H-2A farm workers in North Carolina created one job for a U.S.-born worker.7
  • An expansion of the H-2A visa program under the Senate-passed immigration reform bill would add over 51,000 jobs in the United States.8

4. With a growing population, immigrant labor is vital to helping the agriculture industry produce the food required to feed Americans.

  • By 2050, 9.6 billion people will be living on our planet, with over 400 million people living in the United States, making it the fourth most populous country in the world.9 Having a fully-staffed agricultural labor force is vital for the United States to be able to produce the food it will need.
  • Immigrants will be critical to filling future labor gaps in the economy overall and in agriculture, with 76 million baby boomers retiring and only 46 million U.S.-born workers entering the workforce by 2030.10
  • A survey in California-the number one state in cash farm receipts-found that 71 percent of farmers who grow labor-intensive crops (trees, fruits, vegetables, table grapes, raisins, and berries) reported employee shortages in 2011.11 This has forced them to change crops, to start using mechanized farming (which cannot be used with fruits and vegetables that bruise easily), or to lose part of their crop.12

5. Immigrant agricultural workers help boost the population in rural areas that may be experiencing an outflow of local residents, creating a future pipeline of workers for the industry.

  • New AS/COA–Partnership for a New American Economy research finds that for every 1,000 immigrants settling in a county, 250 U.S.-born individuals follow, drawn by increased economic opportunity.13
  • The population in non-metropolitan counties as a whole declined for the first time between April 2010 and July 2012.14
  • From 2007 to 2011, there was an average of 2.1 million foreign-born individuals living in areas where agriculture is the main industry.15

This fact sheet is a product of the AS/COA Immigration and Integration Initiative, which advances the integration of immigrants and promotes positive dialogue around the economic contributions of immigrants and Latinos overall across the United States, and was produced by Leani García and AS/COA Director of Policy Jason Marczak. For more information, visit AS/COA Online at: www.as-coa.org. For media inquiries or to speak with an expert on this topic, please contact Adriana La Rotta in our communications office at alarotta@as-coa.org.

[1] U.S. Department of Agriculture, "Immigration and the Rural Workforce," Economic Research Service, 2013.
[2] Michael A. Clemens, "International Harvest: A Case Study of How Foreign Workers Help American Farms Grow Crops-and the Economy," Partnership for a New American Economy and the Center for Global Development, 2013, pp.9-11.
[3] "Fixing Our Broken Immigration System: The Economic Benefits to Agriculture and Rural Communities," The Executive Office of the President, 2013, p.8.
[4] Frederick R. Treyz, Corey Stottlemyer and Rod Motamedi, "Key Components of Immigration Reform: An Analysis of the Economic Effects of Creating a Pathway to Legal Status, Expanding High-Skilled Visas, & Reforming Lesser-Skilled Visas," Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI), 2013. pp. 16-17.
[5] "AFBF Board Establishes Strategic Action Plan for 2013," American Farm Bureau Federation, 2013.
[6] Tom Baxter, "How Georgia's Anti-Immigration Law Could Hurt the State's (and the Nation's) Economy," Center for American Progress, 2011, p.2.
[7] Michael A. Clemens, "International Harvest: A Case Study of How Foreign Workers Help American Farms Grow Crops-and the Economy," Partnership for a New American Economy and the Center for Global Development, 2013, p.2.
[8] Frederick R. Treyz, Corey Stottlemyer and Rod Motamedi, "Key Components of Immigration Reform: An Analysis of the Economic Effects of Creating a Pathway to Legal Status, Expanding High-Skilled Visas, & Reforming Lesser-Skilled Visas," Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI), 2013. p.16.
[9] Department of Economic and Social Affairs "World Population Prospects the 2011 Revision: Highlights and Advance Tables," United Nations, 2013, pp. xv, 3, 62.
[10] The Partnership for a New American Economy and The Partnership for New York City, "Not Coming to America: Why the U.S. is Falling Behind in the Global Race for Talent," 2012, p.2.
[11] California Department of Food and Agriculture, "California Agricultural Production Statstics," 2012.
[12] California Farm Bureau Federation, "Walking the Tightrope: California Farmers Struggle with employee Shortages. California Farm Bureau Federation Agricultural Employment Survey Results-2012," p.2.
[13] Americas Society/Council of the Americas and Partnership for a New American Economy, "Immigrants Boost U.S. Economic Vitality through the Housing Market," 2013.
[14] United States Department of Agriculture, "Population & Migration," Economic Research Service.
[15] U.S. Department of Agriculture, "Immigration and the Rural Workforce," Economic Research Service, 2013.

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Noon-Time Talk on Behind Closed Doors, Art in the Spanish American Home, 1492-1898 with Lucia Abramovic

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Join Lucia Abramovich, NOMA's curatorial fellow for Spanish colonial art for a Noontime Talk on the exhibition Behind Closed Doors, Art in the Spanish American Home, 1492-1898.

Noontime Talks are brief, informative discussions on exhibitions and installations in NOMA's galleries. Wednesdays are free admission days for Louisiana residents. Please visit the NOMA website for more information.

MARI Brown Bag: Marcello Canuto, "The Tombs of La Corona: La Noblesse Oblige"

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Marcello Canuto, Director of the Middle American Research Institute at Tulane University, will present about his recent investigations at La Corona. The talk will focus on tombs discovered during the 2014 field season and the information these tombs provides about the broader socio-political relationships at La Corona.

M.A.R.I.'s Brown Bag talk series is meant to provide a venue for students and faculty focusing on topics related to Mesoamerica to discuss their latest research in an informal and friendly setting. If you are interested in presenting, please email Marcello Canuto (mcanuto@tulane.edu) for more information. For the current speaker list of this talk series, please click here.

Please remember to bring your lunch!

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This program includes a screening of Harun Farocki's film The Silver and the Cross (20 min), which examines a 1758 painting by Gaspar Miguel de Berrío that depicts the city and the surrounding silver mines of Potosí, Bolivia. A roundtable discussion featuring three local scholars of Colonial Latin America will follow the film. The discussion will employ the film's description of colonial Potosí as an anchor for a broader discussion about colonial Andean economics, history, and art, particularly as it relates to Behind Closed Doors: Art in the Spanish American Home, 1492-1898.

The goal of this event is to better understand the mechanisms that created the level of wealth exhibited in Behind Closed Doors, and to shed light on an often overlooked city that was essential to the economic success of Spanish America for hundreds of years.

The roundtable discussants are Dr. Kris Lane, the France V. Scholes Professor of Colonial Latin American History, Department of History, Tulane University; Dr. John Charles, Associate Professor of Colonial Spanish American Literature and Director of Graduate Studies, Spanish and Portuguese Department, Tulane University; and Dr. Ari Zighelboim, Lecturer, Spanish and Portuguese Department, Tulane University. Lucia Abramovich, NOMA's Curatorial Fellow for Spanish Colonial Art, will moderate the discussion.

About Dr. Kris Lane
Kris Lane holds the France V. Scholes Chair in Colonial Latin American History at Tulane University. His books include Quito 1599: City & Colony in Transition, Colour of Paradise: The Emerald in the Age of Gunpowder Empires, and Pillaging the Empire: Piracy in the Americas, 1500-1750. He is currently writing a history of the great Potosí mint scandal of 1649, along with an annotated translation of early writings on Potosí.

About Dr. John Charles
John Charles is Associate Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Tulane University. He is the author of numerous articles on colonial Andean literature and history, and the book Allies at Odds: The Andean Church and Its Indigenous Agents, 1583-1671 (University of New Mexico Press, 2010).

About Dr. Ari Zighelboim
Ari Zighelboim (Lima, 1960) studied in Peru, Israel and the United States, graduating with a Bachelor's degree in history and East Asian studies, an MA in cultural anthropology and a PhD in Spanish and Latin American literature. His masters paper dealt with scenes of human sacrifice on mountains in Moche iconography, and his PhD thesis with the surviving Inca nobility during the colonial period in Peru and its cultural and social strategies. He has written about Ruben Dario, Juan de Espinosa Medrano, the drama in Quechua Ollantay, Potosí and other topics. He has also published a volume of poetry. He is now senior lecturer in the department of Spanish and Portuguese at Tulane university.

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Assistant Professor Mia Bagneris will lecture on "Reimagining Race, Class, and Identity in the New World," on Friday, September 12 at 6pm at the New Orleans Museum of Art. The lecture will be held in conjunction with the exhibit, Behind Closed Doors: Art in the Spanish American Home, 1492-1898.

Professor Bagneris teaches African American/Diaspora art history and studies of race in Western Art. Her own work concentrates on the construction of race in British and American art and visual culture of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

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The Cuban and Caribbean Institute presents: Sintesis

Afro-Cuban group Sintesis, founded in 1974 by Carlos Alfonso Valdes, is one of Cuba's musical emblems. The contemporary band has elements of ethno-fusion rhythms mixed with a core of jazz and rock and roll. In the 1980's, Sintesis grew in popularity, and by mid-late decade, the band was a staple of world music festivals. In 1989, they released their first album "Ancestros," and since then have released many more. Their album "Habana a Flor de Piel" was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award in the category of Best Contemporary Tropical Album in 2002.

All are welcome to attend.

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Guantánamo Post-9/11: Human Rights & Constitutional Law in Modern America

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Denny Leboeuf: ACLU, Tulane JD
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The Guantánamo Public Memory Project is a traveling exhibit that examines the history of the U.S. naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, from multiple perspectives and raises questions about U.S.-Cuban relations, civil liberties, national security, and public memory in the past, present, and future. The guest speakers will be giving a talk on the titled event. All are welcome to attend.

For more information about the Guantánamo Public Memory Project, visit http://gitmomemory.org.