E-Verify, a government-run, Internet-based system that cross-checks names and Social Security numbers and spits out mismatches, has been in use since the late 90s and many states have been recently using it to validate whether employees are legally allowed to work in the U.S.
The farming industry won’t be immune to having to use E-Verify for seasonal manual labor, and as highlighted in this article on Philly.com, many farmers are up in arms about it. In the article a Pennsylvania farmer said that only migrant workers have the skills and experience necessary to farm and that no domestic workers would want to do this type of work.
The dire predictions made by farmers forced to turn to only legal workers are, of course, self-serving. We heard many of the same complaints from Southern plantation owners who wailed that the end of slavery would result in doom for the cotton farms. Instead, the end of slavery gave impetus to the adoption of mechanized cotton harvesting and the agricultural interests thrived.
FAIR has consistently professed that domestic workers would take farming jobs if paid a decent wage. These were jobs that Americans used to do. My own experience was occasionally working at a sod farm for spending money while in college, and it was indeed back breaking work but also paid extremely well. I wonder if today Americans and legal citizens are being given those same opportunities that I was given to make an honest wage.