Critical Response to Study Downplaying Farm Labor Shortage

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 07110632 (posted Nov. 6, 2007)"

Nationally renowned agricultural economist Dr. James S. Holt has issued an analysis entitled "The Case for Agricultural Immigration Reform" which is highly critical of the "superficial and complacent conclusions" reached by Dr. Phillip Martin in a recent study on farm labor. Dr. Martin's study, "Immigration Reform and Farm Labor Shortages", concludes that farm labor shortages are not a reality and has been touted by restrictionists groups as an excuse for continued Congressional inaction on immigration reform.

However, Dr. Holt contends that the analysis is extremely superficial, and the conclusions are inconsistent with the data. Most importantly, the study ignores the most relevant data -- data that clearly point to a severe shortage of legal U.S. agricultural workers and raise troubling public policy questions. Dr. Holt concludes by stating that:

"Unless Congress acts to address the crisis in a timely manner, America faces a steady loss of control of our food supply as imports increase and American market share declines. U.S. producers must struggle to use a limited and unresponsive temporary worker program known as H-2A, or risking devastating consequences if targeted for raids."