Immigration Raids Raise Food Costs

By Jonathan Adams Oct 17, 2008

H/T Immigration Prof The Accidental American author, Rinku Sen, argues in her book that a true global economy allows people to move across nations’ borders in the same way that corporations are allowed to move. Critical race theorist Richard Delgado makes a similar point as he connects the rising food costs in your grocery story the the Bush administrations raids on immigrant communities across the country.

The reasons for the increased cost of food are complex, including worldwide weather patterns and the high cost of fuel. But many crops are labor intensive and depend on the ability of growers to secure a sufficient supply of workers at critical stages, for example to harvest a field of lettuce or spinach, or an orchard of apples. Many farmers are plowing their crops into the ground, realizing that without immigrant workers to pick them, harvesting is simply uneconomical. Still others are shifting to crops that are less labor intensive, even if this means cutting down mature orchards and starting over. The lower supply of food inevitably results in higher prices as consumer dollars chase a dwindling or shifting market. Of course, the world food market is sufficiently integrated that reduced production in one area — say, Yakima — will cause another region (say, Chile) to pick up the slack. But obtaining produce from a distance when it was formerly available close at hand increases the cost of transportation while placing stress on the environment.