The small-town, family-farm lifestyle that we love to celebrate is being preserved -- thanks to Mexican immigrants.

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The small-town, family-farm lifestyle that we love to celebrate is being preserved -- thanks to Mexican immigrants.

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Marquez says he requires his employees to provide a Social Security number, but that it's not his responsibility to make sure those numbers are authentic. He acknowledges that E-Verify could be an effective way of doing so—thereby stemming the tide of illegal immigration in a way that periodic raids have not accomplished. People will stop coming if they can't find work here, he reasons.

But he calls that prospect "pretty scary. Who is going to help us on the farm?" Even with all the illegal immigration taking place, he says that some years he had problems finding enough labor.

Not in the past two years, though. Where he used to get maybe 10 people showing up at his orchard every day seeking work, he now gets 50.

He attributes this not only to the recession but to an influx of Hispanics from Arizona, scared away from the state by the backlash. The labor surplus allowed him to thin all his apple trees by late June, a time of year when workers typically depart for higher-paying cherry-picking jobs.

You might say that as far as Marquez is concerned, Arizona's loss is Washington's gain.

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