HATCH, N.M. (KRQE) – With New Mexico chile growers already straining to keep up with nationwide demand, one chile store owner says the fight over immigration could be hurting production.
“Stricter immigration policies are harmful to the agriculture industry. They’re worried about getting picked up on the way to work,” Sean Harris, owner of the Hatch Chile Store, said.
Harris says President Trump’s pledges to build a border wall and crack down on illegal immigration are making it harder to find people to work the fields.
Grower Scott Adams says he’s noticed it too. He says while he’d like to hire citizens, it’s hard to find people willing to do the work.
“The only thing we can do is offer the job. If they want to work in ]agriculture], it’s a available,” Adams said.
Adams is considering using a guest worker program, but says the current program is cumbersome for employers.