Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Ronald L. Mize
One of the most marginalized communities in the United States is that of the migrant and seasonal farmworkers who pick the crops that feed the most-fed nation on earth. The social problems that migrant laborers face are bound to their socioeconomic disadvantages. Farmworkers occupy the lowest-paid job category in the United States, with the vast majority of immigrant farmworkers barely surviving on their below-poverty wages. The history of migrant labor relates to the four major migrant streams that have shuffled workers to where the crops need tending. Over the past 20 years, scholars have identified migrant streams that are increasingly Mexican immigrant, and due to political pressures to fortify the U.S.-Mexico border, the short-term sojourners are increasingly settling in rural agricultural destinations. As the agricultural industry concentrated and expanded in the early 20th century to meet rising U.S. consumer demand, large numbers of temporary laborers were recruited to meet the ...