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Saturday, March 12, 2005

Labor Shortage Along the Border

Stricter enforcement at the U.S. Mexico border has resulted in a shortage of lettuce pickers, but the problem goes beyond this discrete area (WSJ - subscription):

All told, about 10 million illegal immigrants live in the U.S. Without them, experts say, industries like construction, lodging and agriculture would be forced to radically change how they operate -- sharply boosting costs for consumers or curtailing the services they provide. An illegal work force "defines whole industries and whole sectors of the labor market," says Doris Meissner, the immigration chief under President Clinton.

Now, inflamed by security concerns, the debate over illegal immigrants is heating up as Congress considers proposals that would amount to the most significant change in immigration law since an amnesty in 1986.

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