Donald Trump and reality have never been friends. His anti-immigration rhetoric and the all the weeping about the fact that “they took our jobs!” is patently false, designed to stir up the easily frightened and those inclined to mistrust – and real American business owners are confronting him with the facts.
According to a piece from Politico.com, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s anti-immigration comments have already hurt agricultural business, and his policies would spell disaster for the American economy.
Trump has made his anti-immigration policies the focus of his circus-like campaign. Besides his racist remarks that Mexican immigrants were “rapists” and “drug dealers,” Trump’s plans to combat immigration are incredibly radical and unrealistic. In addition to building a wall along the entire southern border, which he claimed would be paid for by Mexico, he wants to deport millions of immigrants, cut work visas, and end birthright citizenship for children of immigrants.
Although Trump’s alleged goal with such fascist plans is to “protect the American worker,” it is obvious that the actual impact would be just the opposite. According to California farmer Frank Muller, “My farm would shut down today if you removed my… workforce. You hear all these disparaging remarks about immigrants, but these guys are the hardest-working, most dedicated people… I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric has already begun to have a negative impact on the agricultural community, making it harder for farmers to find labor. According to Steve Freeman, vice president at Pacific Coast Producers, some farmers have stopped growing labor-intensive crops like grapes and apples in fear of a labor shortage. “Every single time farmers call me, they are stressed about whether they are going to be able to find labor,” says Kristi Boswell of the American Farm Bureau Federation, “and the dialogue in the presidential race is politicizing the issue.”
Statistics show that undocumented immigrants make up approximately 60 percent (1.4 million) of the agricultural work force. Republican candidates that want to crack down on these workers clearly have no clue just how much we rely on them when we go to the supermarket. Politico.com cites a study reporting that “if Congress passed an enforcement-only immigration bill… fruit production in the U.S. would drop by as much as 61 percent, food prices in grocery stores would rise by 6 percent and the average net farm income would drop by as much as 30 percent.” This shows that the conservative attack on immigration has nothing to do with helping the economy, and everything to do with petty identity politics and scapegoating minorities.
On top of that, the fact is these are not jobs that most Americans are eager to take anyway. According to Tim McMillan, owner of Southern Grace Farms in Georgia, “I can’t get American citizens to do the work. They just don’t want to do it.”
Trump’s radical stance on immigration is even more hypocritical given his history of employing immigrant workers, both documented and undocumented. Trump’s companies have applied for over 1,000 immigrant workers over the past few decades, and a suit that was settled in 1999 showed that Trump employed 200 undocumented Polish immigrants at the site of Trump Tower in New York City.
As demonstrated by the recent actions of Hispanic journalist Jorge Ramos, it is important to expose Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric as nothing but racist hate-mongering that will only serve to hurt U.S. workers, the middle class, and our economy. It is a blight on the moral foundation of our nation, and we owe it to our immigrant forefathers that he be stopped.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.