Nicholas Jones: Immigration reform must not strand farmers

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Immigration reform must not strand farmers

In a meeting April 8, farmers in the Pioneer Valley spoke about how hard it would be to operate their businesses without a skilled and reliable workforce, some of it made up of immigrant workers (“Farmers’ ‘bedrock’ shaken,” April 10).

Their experience puts the lie to the conventional story of immigrant workers, which suggests that immigrants in tech fields are skilled and immigrants in the food system are unskilled. Instead, these farmers explained, workers arrive with important agricultural experience and a high level of skill.

Our immigration policy should reflect reality: we need workers to put food on our tables, and American-born workers generally opt out of farm work.

I will continue to prioritize local farms when shopping for food, and reach out to my legislators, urging them to push for immigration reform that doesn’t leave farmers stranded and workers in fear.

Nicholas Jones