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How Current Immigration Policies Are Increasing American Automation

Anti-immigration sentiment was one of the salient points of the political campaign that elected Donald Trump as President of the United States. Rhetoric about the border wall and deportation forces were not the only talking points that got Trump elected. He also sold voters on the idea that drastic anti-immigration measures would bring back highly paid factory and agricultural jobs across the country.

As with other initiatives pushed by the Trump administration, the overzealous immigration policy has started to backfire from an economics point of view. In November 2017, an investigative journalism piece published by Reuters underscored the impact the anti-immigration movement has had on American farming, a sector that has resorted to investing in robotics and automation to assuage the labor shortages caused by Trump administration policies.

The American Farm Bureau Federation estimates that immigrants make up 80 percent of agricultural workers in the U.S., and nearly three quarters of these foreign workers are undocumented. Agricultural employers are feeling the pressure of having to face reduced labor pools because their employees either choose to return to their countries or risk being detained by immigration agents. 

To address labor shortages, farm owners and agricultural entrepreneurs are setting their sights on robotics and automation solutions. From dairy operations to garlic harvesting and packing, American farmers are investing millions in robots and machinery that can help them automate production, and they are doing so instead of “hiring American” because the agricultural sector can no longer sustain the lower productivity and higher incomes demanded by non-immigrant workers. In other words, Trump’s vision of massive deportations turning into a labor bonanza for U.S. citizens is proving to be a fallacy.

Outsourcing is another labor trend gaining steam during the Trump administration. Skilled H-1B visa workers are wary about the growing anti-foreigner sentiment in American society, and many are setting their sights on countries such as Canada, where government initiatives are taking advantage of the situation and encouraging technology professionals to immigrate there instead of the United States. Conversely, many American companies are choosing to outsource some of their business processes to countries such as India, where many H-1B workers traditionally come from.

In addition to automation and outsourcing, many companies are also scrambling to tighten up their human resources compliance processes. To this effect, they are retaining immigration lawyers in San Diego to help them avoid hefty fines and deal with visits by immigration agents. Increased compliance often results in greater expenses that could instead be used for pay raises. 

What the Trump administration fails to recognize is that the era of American workers being paid $16 an hour to perform simple jobs such as inserting rivets at a garage door factory is long gone and unlikely to return. The White House policies of 2017 will not influence market forces because that is not the way capitalism works.

From information on work visas to USA citizenship services, San Diego businesses and their employees can get the details they need by reaching out to KS Visa Law. Call 858-874-0711 today to schedule an appointment.

April 2024