Dairy farmers across the U.S. are speaking out about their dependence on immigrant labor and are pushing for immigration reform.
Dairy farmers from Vermont and New York to Wisconsin and beyond have become increasingly dependent on immigrants, many of them Latin Americans who are in the U.S. illegally. Unlike other agricultural work where laborers are hired for short, seasonal stints, dairy-farm laborers often stick around for years, forging close ties with their employers.
But that has also left dairy farmers vulnerable, as rising unemployment in the U.S. heightens tensions over the hiring of illegal immigrants. Dairy farmers say that without immigrant workers, a labor shortage might force some to shutter their businesses, depriving rural communities in the U.S. of a key economic engine.
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