Via the Whatcom Farm Friends Facebook page, here’s a report from NPR about the farm labor situation in Alabama, where Hispanic workers — legal and otherwise — are said to be leaving the state because of restrictive state laws aimed at curbing illegal immigration.
Farmers quoted in the NPR report are saying that other unemployed Alabama residents are not stepping forward in sufficient numbers to get crops planted and harvested.
Whatcom County farmers have said they are concerned about similar problems here if the federal government imposes eVerify requirements for farmworkers nationwide.
Here and elsewhere, farmers say they want a legal workforce, but measures that eliminate illegal workers without providing an alternative labor supply could be disastrous. That would likely mean some kind of guest worker program that would enable farmers to quickly mobilize legal immigrant laborers when they are needed.