According to many, president Trump ‘emergency at the southern border’ isn’t an emergency at all. But the president’s alarm is in fact creating an emergency in North Carolina. The problem here isn’t too many immigrants, it’s too few.
The lack of laborers has hit farmers whose crops can’t be harvested by machines. They need hired hands that can pick without damaging such crops as tobacco, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, lettuce, strawberries, blackberries and Christmas trees. But Trump’s demand for a massive border wall, his accusations that many Hispanic immigrants are criminals and the rounding up of undocumented immigrants by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents has dried up the supply of migrant workers.
“I know in Eastern North Carolina, there are not any illegal workers,” said Pender Sharp, who grows tobacco, sweet potatoes, corn and soybeans in Wilson County. “Twenty years ago they were driving up in your driveway looking for work but that’s not happening anymore.”
According to an article on charlotteobserver.com, the flow of undocumented migrant workers has been slowing for years under tighter border enforcement policies adopted by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama — and because of improvements in the Mexican economy. But Trump’s rhetoric, the separation of families at the border and ICE arrests have discouraged migrant workers from coming to the U.S. and intimidated undocumented immigrants who are living in the U.S. from working where they might be arrested and deported.