Document Type


Journal/Book Title

Immigration and Farm Labor in the U.S.

Publication Date



National Agricultural & Rural Development Policy Center


Hired workers comprise 33 percent of people employed on farms but do an estimated 60 percent of the work performed on U.S. farms. Most hired farm workers were born abroad, usually in Mexico, and most are believed not to be authorized to work in the U.S. Changes in Mexico-US migration flows and more restrictive immigration laws and policies have increased the vulnerability of U.S. agriculture to labor supply shocks, which could increase costs and threaten the ability of some farmers to harvest laborintensive crops. Congress is considering major changes in immigration policies. Farm employers want access to a reliable supply of legal foreign workers, while worker advocates want to protect the wellbeing and improve working conditions for both U.S. and immigrant farm workers.