illegal immigrants lemon orchard

Illegal Migrant Workers

on a Lemon Orchard




pick season (2) know/knew/known
citrus capital (2) lose/lost/lost
decade consumer find/found/found
owner rot away race against time
race (2) rot, rotten fall/fell/fallen
rot for sure see/saw/seen
crew compete get/got/got
in time rotation requirement
labor boom (2) come/came/come
kind (2) square (3) do/did/done
border rot away heightened
visa (2) available bureaucracy
tear (2) come back cut/cut/cut (2)
across mean (3) give/gave/given
field (2) revenue frustration
across workforce year-round
bureau shortage begin/began/begun
affect yield (2) produce (2)
as well matter (2) eat/ate/eaten
harvest change (2) demographic
ground heart (2) recruitment
security continue compound (2)
reform complex put/put/put
soul no longer construction
over time livelihood






It’s the end of the lemon picking season here, in what’s known as the citrus capital of the world.

But farms in Santa Paula are losing money because they can’t find enough workers to pick the produce. This lemon farm has more than four square kilometers of land in California and Arizona.

For its owners this has become a race against time: pick the fruit before it falls or watch it rot away.

Journalist: “There’s a lot of frustration here?”
Alex Teague, Limonneira Farms: “For sure. Yeah. And as we walk through here, you can see here with the fruit on the ground.

That this is a real example of us not being able to get the rotation of the crews to come back around in time. And when we look at the fruit on the ground, we see basically a lot of tears on the ground.”

This is labor mostly done by Mexican immigrants. Farmers say many Americans don’t want this kind of work. And a decade of heightened border security and visa bureaucracy has cut into immigrant recruitment.

Carlos Gutierrez, Farm Worker: “It’s very difficult. Very difficult. They don’t give visas to anybody. There are SOOO many requirements for somebody coming here to get a visa.”

That’s part of the problem. But a booming economy in Mexico also means many people there just don’t want to work in the US anymore.

But it’s not just here in California — farmers across the United States say it’s been a problem for a while: entire fields left to rot and millions of dollars of lost revenue. And that’s year-round.

Will Terry, American Farm Bureau: “The next two weeks we’ll start harvesting here, and we won’t stop for about three months.”

Pepper season is just beginning. But the labor shortage is about more than farm yields; it could affect what consumers eat as well.

Will Terry, American Farm Bureau: “It really doesn’t matter where you are in the country — this is affecting everybody. We have demographics changing in Mexico: smaller families means less available people for our workforce. And construction companies compete for the same workforce that we do.

And this is something that’s going to continue to compound itself over time. And you’re gonna see less and less fresh products.”

The government is looking at reform, but the problem is complex.

Farmers put their hearts and souls into this industry and many of them say they can no longer afford to watch their livelihoods rot away on the ground.

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Lemon, Lime. Spain grows and produces the most lemons in the world. True or false?

Apple. Is the main problem for the farmers in the video drought, floods, insects or plant diseases?

Orange, Tangerine. “We see basically a lot of tears on the ground.” What does this mean?

Banana. American are very motivated, enthusiastic and energetic about harvesting crops. Is this right or wrong?

Cherry. Is it quick and easy for Mexicans and other foreigners to come and work in the United States?

Strawberry. Is everyone in Mexico desperate to come to the US and pick fruits and harvest vegetables?

Kiwi Fruit. The US government is eager to streamline immigration and will do so quickly. Is this correct or incorrect?
Avocado. There are (many) undocumented immigrants in my city and country. Yes or no? If yes, who are they? Where are they from? What do they do?

Pear. Do (many) people from your nation live and work abroad (illegally)?

Peach, Nectarine, Apricot. Why do migrants live and work in other countries? Why do employers employ them?

Raspberry, Blueberry, Blackberry. Do (illegal) immigrants form an integral part of the economy and people’s daily lives? What would happen if (all) illegal workers were deported?

Grapes. Is there a lot of controversy, debate and arguments regarding undocumented migration and immigration in general?

Pineapple. What might happen in the future?

Watermelons, Melons. What should governments, migrants and their employers do?

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