Local nurseries losing out on business while migrant workers wait for visas

Local business struggles with immigration policy (KTUL)

Many of us take having the lawn cut or trees for the yard for granted.

But at Southwood Nursery, they need to bring back eight Mexican workers for the season.

So far, there's no sign they'll get permission from Uncle Sam.

Someone has to do the hard labor of planting, maintaining and hauling these plants.

While this business will keep going, they worry about the summer workers they hire from Mexico year after year, and they're concerned about their customers.

"You might come in to the garden center and expect to get a tree planted," said Margaret Schulte, with Southwood. "It might take longer. We might not be able to do the design and install int he time you think. Honestly, it might cost more."

With the economy picking up, they may miss some good opportunities, and it won't just be Mexican families who suffer.

"It limits our ability to increase wages where we'd like to," said Steven Welch, with Southwood. "Certainly it just puts a strain on everybody, including the customer because there will be come customers wee'll have to say no to because we just can't do it."

At a wholesale nursery a couple miles to the south, they're waiting on seven workers from mexico who were supposed to be there from March 1 to Dec. 15. They're frustrated with the government, and at $11.85 an hour they can't find American workers.

"There isn't anyone who wants to do this kind of work," said Kent Herren, president of Spring Creek Nursery. "The Latinos are the only ones who want to do it. They're capable of it. I mean, everyone is capable of it, but Americans don't want to do these jobs, especially for the wages we want to pay."

It's only mid-March and one of the nursery's commercial customers is already passing up work.

"It's horrible, I mean, it gets hard to sleep at night sometimes, you know?" said Shannon Allison, Exterior Services. "Stressing but to relieve it off of me you have to let it go."

These businesses have plenty of work, but thanks to Washington they're having trouble growing.

While there's still hope they'll get workers, timing is a concern. Because for many, April is their busiest month.

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