Washington apple growers could have had one of the best apple harvests in the state’s history — if not for the lack of workers. Orchard owners say a federal immigration crackdown and extreme anti-immigrant laws in states like Alabama and Arizona have scared off many of their workers.
Some farmers have tried to hire domestic workers. Orchards have “pickers wanted” signs, and growers have asked neighbors for extra workers. But their efforts have been unsuccessful to replace the immigrant farm workers they typically hire. So just like farmers in Alabama and Georgia, their crops will go to waste without without the experienced workers to pick the apples by hand:
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