The Hispanic electorate is emerging as a distinct presence on the political landscape, demonstrating broad but shallow party loyalty and a mixture of ideological beliefs and policy positions that defies easy categorization. At a time when the rest of the nation is almost evenly split along partisan lines, Latino voters appear to straddle some of the sharpest divides in American politics today. Though most Latinos identify with the Democratic Party, this party affiliation comes with a notable ambivalence, and on some social issues they express a conservatism that sets them apart from their white counterparts. Similarly, most Latino Republicans voice a preference for a bigger government and higher taxes, which is contrary to the stand taken by an overwhelming majority of white Republicans.
This paper addresses three questions: (1) How many unauthorized workers are employed in U.S. agriculture? (2) How many unauthorized farm workers would be eligible for a legalization or guest worker program that required e.g. 60, 90 or 120 days of U.S. farm work during a qualifying 12-month base period? (3)How many guest workers would be admitted under the most likely legalization/guest worker programs; that is, what are likely exit rates from the farm work force for newly legalized workers? The concluding section discusses the implications of alternative scenarios for dealing with immigration and farm workers.