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: For media inquiries or to speak with an expert on this topic, please contact Adriana La Rotta in our communications office at

[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.







Upcoming Events

Univeristy of New Orleans Presents: Empire and Solidarity in the Americas Conference

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Empire and Solidarity in the Americas Conference
UNO – Latin American Studies

Friday, October 24, 2014: 3:30-6:00 PM
Saturday, October 25, 2014: 9:15 AM-3:15 PM

Milneburg Hall 351 – UNO Campus

The 2014 Empire and Solidarity in the Americas Conference explores the meanings, forms, histories, and futures of North-South solidarity in the Americas. What kinds of transnational ties have groups from both sides of the North-South divide established with each other? What kinds of strategies have they used, and toward what ends? How have these political projects varied across time and space? In what ways have cross-border solidarities shaped and been shaped by imperial power?

Conference Program is attached to this email. This conference is open and free to the public. This is a workshop: papers are circulated and read before the conference. If you would like to access the papers, please send an email to:


Marc Becker, Professor of History, Truman State University, and author of Indians and Leftists in the Making of Ecuador's Modern Indigenous
Jonathan C. Brown is Professor of History at the University of Texas and is completing a book on how the Cuban Revolution changed the world.
Aviva Chomsky, Professor of History and Coordinator of Latin American Studies, Salem State University, and author of Linked Labor Histories: New
England, Colombia, and the Making of the Global Working Class.
Lesley Gill, Professor, Department of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University, and author of The School of the Americas: Military Training and Political
Violence in the Americas.
Eric Larson, Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and author of Jobs With Justice: 25 Years, 25 Voices
Elizabeth Manley is Assistant Professor of History at Xavier University where she is completing a book, The Paradox of Paternalism: Women,
Transnational Activism, and the Politics of Authoritarianism in the Dominican Republic, 1928-1978.
Teresa Meade, Florence B. Sherwood Professor of History and Culture, Union College, and author of A History of Modern Latin America.
William Schmidli, Assistant Professor, Bucknell University, and author of The Fate of Freedom Elsewhere: Human Rights in U.S. Cold War Policy Toward
Megan Strom is a PhD Candidate in Latin American History at the University of California, San Diego and will defend her dissertation on Uruguayan


5th Annual South Central Conference on Mesoamerica

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5th Annual South-Central Conference on Mesoamerica is a conference which provides a venue for scholars, students, and the interested public from across the south-central U.S. to share ideas, information, and interpretations. The conference is free and open to the public, and we hope you will join us. Although the conference is free, if you plan to attend please register so we have an idea of how many people will attend.

The conference will be held October 24-26th on Tulane’s Campus.

Please visit the conference website for more information and be sure to check back for updates in the near future!

"Oye Tu: A Reading of Fiction About Cubans" a talk by Cecilia Rodriguez Milanes

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The lecture title is "Oye Tú: A Reading of Fiction about Cubans." The talk is open to the public as well as the Tulane community. The lecture, which will discuss the Cuban diaspora in the United States, was timed to coincide with the general interest that the Guantánamo Public Memory Project:, currently at Tulane, has generated. The time and location has been confirmed for Tuesday, October 28, 12:30-1:30 p.m. at the Greenleaf Conference Room, Jones Hall 100A. Refreshments will be provided.

Social and Environmental Safeguards, Policies and Practices in International Development: Discussion with Carlos Pérez-Brito

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Currently a social specialist from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Carlos Pérez-Brito is responsible for managing social and environmental safeguards in the public and private sectors projects. Before joining the IDB, Mr. Pérez-Brito was a human development specialist for the World Bank and USAID. He has a bachelor degree from Loyola University, New Orleans and a Masters in Latin American Studies from Tulane University with emphasis in international development. He was also a visiting scholar for the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

Mr. Pérez-Brito’s talk will describe the evolving practice of using social and environmental review criteria as conditions for bank-related projects.

Co-Sponsored with the Tulane Center for Inter-American Policy and Research (CIPR).

Event flyer can be found here.

Day of the Dead at the Ogden!

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Celebrate Día de los muertos at the Ogden! As part of the Ogden's After Hours Ruemba Buena will perform. Specializing in salsa and meringue, this band is made up of musicians who, pre-Katrina, played in groups like Los Babies and Los Sagitarios. It's the brainchild of percussionist Johnny Marcia. Kids craft table will feature Day of the Dead activities and delicious food will be available.

For more information please contact Jane Marie Dawkins, 504.539.9650,

Sponsored by Tulane’s Stone Center for Latin American Studies, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and the Consulate of Mexico in New Orleans.

The Guantánamo Public Memory Project

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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.

For more information about the Guantánamo Public Memory Project, visit

The exhibit will run from September 2nd to October 30th. All are welcome to stop by and see the exhibit during open hours of Jones Hall, or during one of the special events of the exhibit (to be posted).