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What Immigration Reform Could Mean to US Farmers



From VOA Learning English, this is the Agriculture Report.

Farmers in the United States are experiencing two big problems. There is a shortage of people to work in their fields. The workers they do have are mostly from Latin America. But many have entered the country with false documents. Farmers say that without immigration reform, both problems will continue. The Imperial Valley is an agricultural area in the western state of California near the border with Mexico. Temperatures there are above 38 degrees Celsius during the summer months. As a result, not much grows in the Imperial Valley at this time of year. But in the winter, the fields are filled with lettuce and celery. And in the spring, farmers grow fruit like cantaloupe and watermelon. There also is work to do in the fields during the summer. Francisco Saucedo uses farm equipment to prepare the land for planting in the autumn. He lives in Mexico and wakes up in the middle of the night, so he can avoid long lines at the border crossing.

Mr. Saucedo says that if he did this kind of work in Mexico, he would earn about $6 a day. But in the United States, he makes as much as $90 a day.Farmer Larry Cox says growing and harvesting vegetables depends on migrants, or day laborers, from Mexico. But he says not enough laborers are crossing the border. Mr. Cox says it is difficult to get visas to work in the United States. As a result, many farm workers from Latin America carry false documents. Tom Nassif is president of the Western Growers Association, a U.S. farmers' business group. He says there are about 11 million workers in the United States with false documents. More than one million of them work in agriculture.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Carolyn Presutti.

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