'They've their papers in order - if they're deported their children are taken care of' - US farm workers fear Trump
Illegal US dairy farm workers and farmers tell of fear and anger over US President Donal Trump's threat of deportations
A dairy farmer in the US midwest recently wrote to the President of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), telling of the anger and frustration they feel on hearing of workers being deported from farms.
President and CEO of NMPF Jim Mulhern received the note from a dairy farmer in the midwest last month, who told him of how their farm workers are feeling after hearing of workers being deported from farms in her state.
“Our employees are very jittery. We’ve coordinated driving to grocery stores and outlined ‘safe’ roadmaps (county and town roads) to get to the dentist, doctor and grocery store.
"They’ve gotten their papers in order if they are deported so that their children can be taken care of. They are scared, frustrated, and a little angry. We as dairy farmers are too,” the unidentified dairy farmer wrote to Mulhern.
There are 150,000 employees working on US dairy farms and approximately 51pc are immigrants, although exact figures on how many of these are undocumented it not known.
Jim Mulhern said that too many of US's dairy farmers are facing an ongoing, daunting challenge: finding enough American workers to fill jobs on their farms, even when they provide wages higher than those paid by other local jobs.
"This 'between a rock and hard place' dilemma has grown more acute as the national unemployment rate has dropped – and will likely get even more dire, now that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement has begun stepping up its efforts to locate and remove undocumented individuals."
Because such a large volume of milk production depends on them, losing even just a portion of foreign-born undocumented workers would have serious implications for both farmers and consumers, he said.