Sample Essay on Food Companies Are Promoting Illegal Immigration Under Government Protection

Food companies are promoting illegal immigration under government protection


Becerra, Androff, Ayon and Castillo (2012) acknowledge that the issue of illegal immigration has continued to attract attention from policy makers and general public for a long period. These debates have been triggered by the rising number of undocumented people moving to the U.S.A each year. Illegal immigration is realized as the process in which people enter USA borders without government permission or extend their stay after the expiry of their authorized admission. Passel and Cohn (2009) says that the number of illegal immigrants in USA was 3.5 million in 1990 and it was estimated to be 11.9 million in 2010 accounting for 4% of the total U.S. population. Undocumented immigrants move to America from around the world, however the majority, an estimated 76%, are Latino, of which 59% (7 million) are estimated to be from Mexico and 22% (2.1 million) from the rest of Latin America (Passel & Cohn, 2009). The U.S. policy makers have tried to initiate policies and frameworks aimed at addressing this issue amidst divided perspectives over the effects of illegal immigration to the U.S.A. However, there is a general consensus that illegal immigration is detrimental to the social-economic aspects of the United States and that stringer measures should be taken to apprehend the issue (Becerra, Androff, Ayon & Castillo, 2012).

Notably, the food sector and other related industries have been in the center of illegal immigration debate. Food industries include farms, food processing companies, and food retailers including hospitality companies and groceries. The 2014 Hunger Report indicated that more than 70% of the entire hired U.S farm worker force was foreign born and half of the workers were undocumented. The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 486,000 workers were employed in animal slaughtering industry in 2010 and 10% of this number comprised of illegal immigrants. Similarly, out of the 12.7 million in restaurant industry, 1.4 million employees were immigrants. Significantly, the food industry plays a fundamental role in encouraging the existence of illegal immigration in U.S.A despite measures taken to curb the issue. Arguably, these companies receive external protection from government officials; hence, they continue hiring aliens in this industry. In this context, this study augments that some US government employees have been protecting the large food companies that have continued to hire illegal immigrants and most importantly selling harmful food products to the public for their individual interests. This study substantiates this argument by delineating some of the interests that make these companies receive government protection.

Argument against illegal immigration

Becerra, Androff, Ayon and Castillo (2012) assert that the public policy involving the aspect of immigration in U.S.A. is surrounded by strident rhetoric and counter arguments. Illegal immigrants are considered as hefty burden to the U.S. taxpayers as they enjoy resources yet they are not taxed. The economic burden associated with illegal immigration include costs to some state and local governments for providing law enforcement, education, and health care services. The political front also argues that undocumented immigrants are huge economic drain due to the costs associated with law enforcement. This is because various reports such as The Heritage Foundation report associate illegal immigrants with higher crime rates involving smuggling and trafficking (Becerra, Androff, Ayon and Castillo, 2012). Illegal immigrants are viewed as social, economic, and political burden by various spheres of the American society. In 1996 at the heighten of illegal immigration to America, Congress passed the illegal immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) which called for additional border patrols and tightening of the controls on illegal immigration. The most current immigrant law was the Comprehensive Immigration and Reform for Americas Security and Prosperity Act of 2009. All these legislations have been acted to counter illegal immigration with the U.S. borders.  Therefore, illegal immigration is highly discouraged and unwarranted in the United States.

Illegal immigration and U.S. food industry

There are numerous issues that have come up in regards to the increased production and profitability in the agricultural sector. The farming sector consists of farms that are extremely diverse in nature; that is, size, profitability and operational priorities and it may be difficult to make a general representation. The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) indicates that the farming sector has grown immensely over the past four decades. Ruark and Moinuddin (2011) on their 2011 Agribusiness report found out that 5.7% of the U.S. farms accounted for 75% of total farm sales in the entire nation. The agriculture sector recorded an 80% annual increase in profit margin from 1997 to 2007 due to the improved farm sales. The profit margin has consistently faced an upward trend garnering a considerable larger market share. The New York Times reported that the agriculture sector exports in 2012 were valued at 22.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2012 which was a 37% increment from the 2009 exports (Ruark & Moinuddin, 2011).  American scholars have indicated that food companies have passed on the production costs to the consumers.

Extensively, the demand for food products is rising immensely trivializing economic, social, and political issues in the farming industries. As observed, the demand for local farm produce has faced a rising trend in all commodities such as fruits, nuts, and vegetables. The food prices have also increased to match the observed demand in the sector. The American population has increasingly sort for food produces especially fruits and vegetables due to the changing healthy eating habits in the modern American culture (Warren, & Warren, 2013). American people have adopted a culture that propagates for consumption of fruits and vegetables increasing their demand. Farmers are striving to meet the increased demand for food products by enlarging agribusiness and the entire food production. The hotel industry is pushing for this demand due to the flourishing tourism sector. As a result, the labor shortage has largely affected the food industry since the 20th century. Ruark and Moinuddin (2011) assert that the labor shortage in the hotel industry has been a problem to the country since 1970. The largest shortages were noted in the area of food service and food preparation along with room service personnel. Apparently, the agriculture industry is highly labor intensive and demands manual laborers in the farm. Farm companies have persistently turned out to immigrants for labor resource.

Ruark and Moinuddin (2011) assert that undocumented migrant laborers have consistently accounted for roughly half of all farming jobs since 2000. The 2014 Hunger Report by the Bread for the World Institute indicated that 70 percent of all employed U.S. farm workers were foreign born half of that figure was undocumented. A 2009 survey that was conducted by the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) reported that half of all dairy farms surveyed depended on immigrant labor. Similarly, 62 percent of the nation’s milk supplies are derived from farms using immigrant labor. Research on the impact of immigration on the industry found that a 50 percent reduction in foreign-born labor would result in the loss of 2,266 dairy farms. A study by the Bureau Labor of Statistics (BLS) also found out those 1.4 million laborers in the hotel industry consisted of illegal immigrants. The Legal Status of Frameworks 2006 found out that 52% of all manual laborers in firms were unauthorized.

Basically, large farms have turned into hiring of illegal aliens in the labor force. Ruark and Moinuddin (2011) assert that small farms that make revenue of $100,000 or less do not make use of illegal aliens. It is therefore certain that large companies are pushing for the use of illegal immigrants as their labor force. The trend is notable in all food companies ranging from farms, food processing companies, and hotel-related firms. This begs for the question of the motivating factors that lead to the increased demand for undocumented workers despite the strict laws guiding illegal immigration in the country. Becerra, Androff, Ayon and Castillo (2012) say that food companies are motivated by the few labor-related demands by the unauthorized workers. The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) reports that authorized workers are only willing to accept wages that are 18% higher than the ones offered to unauthorized counterparts.  Native Americans on the other hand can only accept the work at least 22% higher wages.

The Bureau Labor Statistics (BLS) 2006 report found out that the mean annual income differences between documented and undocumented farm workers was $5,617. The median weekly earnings for immigrants were $300 and only 20% of restaurant jobs paid living wage to immigrants. Actually, illegal immigrants are deprived their human rights especially in the labor force.  For instance, the Federation for American Immigration Reform reported that unauthorized crop farm workers receive annual incomes of $5,600 less than that of authorized workers working in the same sector (Peri, 2006). The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) sates that replacing unauthorized laborers with authorized workers in the farm sector would reduce the net income with 12 percent annually. The profits margins are likely to face a down-turn due to the increased labor costs. Empirically, food companies scramble for unauthorized workers due to cheap labor and their availability.

Government employees’ intervention in unauthorized labor in food companies 

As observed in the above section, the food sector relies on illegal immigrants heavily. The trend is quite common due to the low wages and deprived human conditions involved in the sector. The big question is why the business is thriving when there are laws structured to address the illegal immigration menace. In one of the current legal issue involving illegal immigrants hinted a governmental intervention and protection to these food companies (Warren, & Warren, 2013). The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Hoffman Plastic Compounds v. NLRB, 535 U.S. 137, 122 S. Ct. 1275, 152 L.Ed.2d 271 (2002), that undocumented workers are not entitled to back pay awards if they are illegally fired from their jobs in retaliation for union activities.

The decision adversely affected illegal immigrants but it has had beneficial effects on food companies. The decision gives the companies an added advantage on suppressing immigrants’ rights. In the United States, the protected class refers to an individual who is sheltered against discriminatory laws, practices, and policies by the federal law. This means that all the 50 states abide by these anti-discrimination laws enacted at the federal level. The protected class includes race, color, religion, the country of origin, sex (this includes pregnancy, childbirth, and other medical situations), age, disability status, non-discrimination against genetic status and veteran status. However, food companies are not observing these laws and there is no major crackdown done to these companies.


Similarly, Menjívar and Abrego (2012) argue that the issue of illegal aliens has been in existence since 1960s. The worrying aspect is that unauthorized workers have continuously worked for big companies without any government intervention. Arguably, some government employees have played a significant role in ensuring that these companies have strived in violating illegal immigrants’ laws. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, a private company must have at least 20 employees to be covered by the anti-discriminatory laws, Age Discrimination Act to be precise (Warren, & Warren, 2013). An organization that has 15 or more employees is subjected to Title VII while 4 employees are covered by the Immigration Reform and Control Act. Notably, all companies in spite of their sizes must comply with the Equal Pay Act under the federal law. Therefore, Anti-discriminatory laws include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964 that excludes race, color, religion, national, sex, and origin as basis of offering employment, Age Discrimination in Employment Act 1967 that protects applicants against discrimination since they have attained the age of forty years and above, American with Disabilities Act 1990, and the Civil Rights Act 1991 that offers clarifications of the Title VII act.


Food industry is significant in the United States America economic and social sphere. As mentioned by Ruark and Moinuddin (2011) on their 2011 Agribusiness report that 5.7% of the U.S. farms accounted for 75% of total farm sales in the entire nation. The agriculture sector recorded an 80% annual increase in profit margin from 1997 to 2007 due to the improved farm sales.  Huge population relies on the food sector and at the same time the issue of illegal immigration is prevalent in the United States of America and it has trivialized various aspects in the social-economic sphere. Illegal immigration is a progressing problem in the country and it has highly affected the food companies. Some government employees have been implicated in the syndicate of protecting companies that employee aliens. The study has also found out that some policies have hindered the ability of addressing this issue. Therefore, the government should draft polices and ensure that they are implemented to avoid unauthorized employment.


Becerra, D., Adroff, D. & Castillo, J. (2012). Fear vs. Facts: Examining the Economic Impact of Undocumented Immigrants in the U.S. Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare. Volume XXXIX, Number 4. 111-135

Dwi Susanto, et al. (2010), “Immigration policy, foreign agricultural labor, and exit intentions in the United States dairy industry,” Journal of Dairy Science (93)

Menjívar, C., & Abrego, L. (2012). Legal Violence: Immigration Law and the Lives of Central American Immigrants1. American Journal of Sociology117(5), 1380-1421.

Ruark, E. & Moinuddin, A. (2011). Illegal immigration and Agribusiness: the effect on the agriculture industry of converting to a legal workforce. Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). Retrieved from:

Peri, G. (2006). Rethinking the effects of immigration on wages: New data and analysis from 1990-2004. Immigration Policy in Focus, 5(8), 1-8

Warren, R., & Warren, J. R. (2013). Unauthorized immigration to the United States: annual estimates and components of change, by state, 1990 to 2010. International Migration Review47(2), 296-329.