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Long dependent on immigrant workers, Yakima Valley growers laboring with new reality

Narciso Cruz picks Red Delicious apples in an orchard in Tieton, Wash., Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. Over the past several years, farmers have complained of labor shortages stressing the state’s multi-billion fruit industry. According to studies in recent years, a reverse flow immigration and an improving economy in Mexico is creating more competition for foreign-born labor in the U.S. (SHAWN GUST/Yakima Herald-Republic)

After decades of enjoying a robust low-wage labor force mostly composed of Mexican immigrants entering the U.S. illegally, growers here and across the state are finding fewer laborers interested in coming here to work.

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