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How Increased Immigration Enforcement Could Impact San Diego County Farms

Photo caption:

Photo by Roland Lizarondo

Eric Larson, executive director of the San Diego County Farm Bureau, is pictured at a grapefruit orchard in Escondido, March 19, 2015.

How Increased Immigration Enforcement Could Impact San Diego County Farms

GUEST:

Eric Larson, executive director, San Diego County Farm Bureau

Transcript

Farms across the country, including those in San Diego County, rely on laborers who are in the country illegally.

Between 50 percent and 70 percent of farmworkers in the U.S. are in the country illegally, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Eric Larson, executive director of the San Diego County Farm Bureau, said that even prior to President Donald Trump's actions to step up immigration enforcement, San Diego County was already experiencing a labor shortage caused by already tight border security and an aging population of farmworkers.

"There's an order now that came down from Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to hire 10,000 more interior immigration and custom enforcement agents, that's a lot more out there, (it) could have a dampening effect on people willing to work in agriculture, so we already have this limited supply of workers and then we have this inaction in Washington, D.C. to fix the problem," Larson said.

San Diego County's farm industry has a wholesale value of $2 billion and employs 10,000 people. Larson said a loss of farmworkers would impact the county's farming industry and puts the local economy at risk.

Larson joins Midday Edition on Thursday to discuss how increased enforcement of immigration laws could affect farms in San Diego County.

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