The death of meaningful U.S. immigration reform, done in by Washington partisanship and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s incendiary comments on foreigners, is leaving crops withering in the field and the farm lobby with nowhere to turn as a labor shortage intensifies.
Carlos Castaneda watched one-quarter of his Napa cabbages rot in three of his California fields this spring as 37 immigrant laborers scheduled to arrive March 13 under a farmworker visa program were delayed by bureaucratic paperwork. He said he’d like to see fixes to an immigration system that causes his crops to rot unharvested. But he has little hope that will happen in this political climate.
“The rhetoric that’s getting preached is pushing xenophobia,” said Castaneda, 39, whose parents are Mexican immigrants. “You can’t call an immigrant a murderer. You can’t paint them with that brush."
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