When hordes of police and immigration officials stormed meatpacking plants in six states this week, the illegal workers arrested may not have been the only victims.
Consumers and the industry itself may be feeling the repercussions in a shortage of meatpackers, higher wage costs and, ultimately, higher prices for the beef that lands on America's tables at home and in restaurants.
Every labor-intensive industry -- the hotel industry, the construction industry, agriculture -- will be similarly impacted, he said.
"It just happens the meatpacking industry is in the cross hairs right now," Reed said.
Continued massive immigration raids would cut cattle prices paid to cattle feeders and cattle producers while raising the cost of beef for consumers, said James Mintert, an agricultural economist at Kansas State University.
It would also reduce the available labor supply -- putting the U.S. meatpacking industry in a position more comparable to the Canadian slaughterhouses, which have much higher labor costs because they have less access to cheap immigrant labor.
"You are going to end up paying higher wages," Mintert said.
Yep, it's a real shame. Letting supply and demand determine wage levels and the cost of products. I'm sure there's a name for that economic system but i just can't think of it.