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Trump Administration's Immigration Policy Could Have Dire Effects in Clark County, Part 1
Monday, March 20th, 2017 -- 11:13 am
Posted by Riley Hebert-News Director

-A priority in Washington D.C. could have a dire effect on farms, factories and other jobs here in Clark County.

One of President Trump’s highest priorities is the deportation of undocumented immigrants. He has used a series of executive orders to chip away at the barriers to deportations and hire new law enforcement officials to spearhead the effort. Should he succeed, the effects will be wide reaching including right here in Clark County where a high population of undocumented workers fill positions on farms and in factories. I spoke with Melissa Kono, CNRED Agent, and Richard Halopka, Crops and Soil Agent, with the Clark County UW-Extension Office. They talked about the negative effect mass deportation could have on our area.

Melissa: "It's estimated that about 80% of our labor workforce in the dairy industry in Wisconsin is compromised of immigrant labor. Whether that's people who have the proper documentation to be working here or are lacking it. That makes up about 80%. The basic economics of it is there's a demand for labor. Employers are finding it very difficult to hire workers for the wages of what I see most often, which is $13-$15 per hour. And employers have a demand for that labor and they're simply meeting the demand for that labor with a supply of immigrant labor."

Richard: "As long as their documented it's not a problem. Now we talk about the farm workers, but I think a greater area of concern would be the livestock/meat processing in the Abbotsford/Curtiss area. Without that workforce, that would come to standstill. It'll probably be business as usual and I hate to say it that way. And then you have the flip side, you have the undocumented worker who's just going to stick it in the politician's face. The people that actually want to be here, and I've talked to some of them, there's a lot of them and they just want to better themselves. They're going to get that documentation."

Coming up on Tuesday, Melissa and Richard will explain why factories and farms can’t find the workers they need to fill the positions that undocumented immigrants typically take.

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