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Reduction in immigration could hurt North Carolina farms

Many immigrants from Mexico call North Carolina home, but recent immigration figures from that country reveal a changing dynamic that could affect this state's agricultural sector. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, immigration from Mexico to the United States is down, while immigration from the United States to Mexico is up.

The study compared immigration data from two separate time periods: a five-year stretch from 1995 to 2000 and another a decade later from 2005 to 2010. During the former span, nearly 3 million people entered the United States from Mexico while only approximately 700,000 went in the other direction. The numbers are strikingly different in the latter period. From 2005 to 2010, roughly 1.4 million people immigrated to the United States from Mexico. The number of people leaving for Mexico was slightly higher than that number, however.

North Carolina and other southern states with significant agricultural operations could be adversely affected by this immigration trend. Many farms around the region depend on immigrants, and a number of farmers are already reporting that they have had to reduce the extent of their plantings. Some speculate farmers could find a solution in temporary work visas.

A number of explanations have been offered to explain the immigration data. Studies show that Mexican families are having fewer children, which in turn means there is a smaller pool of people to come to the United States when they reach the prime age for immigration. But other factors may be depressing immigration figures. The Mexican economy is improving, while the United States is slowly emerging from a recession.

Visa matters can be complex and there are deadlines that a visa applicant will have to meet. An experienced immigration law attorney can help those seeking visas navigate the rules required to earn one.

Source: Southern California Public Radio, "Net migration from Mexico has stopped - now what?" Leslie Berestein Rojas, April 23, 2012.

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