The difference between H-2A and unauthorized farm labor

"For every bucket of sweet potatoes Pablo picks at a farm in this eastern North Carolina community, he gets 40 cents. At that rate he'll need to pick and haul 3,750 buckets to eclipse the $1,500 he paid to a coyote - a term for someone who helps undocumented immigrants cross the U.S. border.  In truth, that number of buckets is higher because Pablo's boss deducts money for housing, cleaning costs and taxes.  Many undocumented agriculture workers do pay taxes. It's commonplace for them to present farmers with fabricated Social Security numbers and doctored I-9 tax forms. It gives the farmer a paper trail to point to if U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement comes knocking.  About 100 miles southwest in Carthage, N.C., Cruz Diaz Montalvo is working in the United States legally with an H-2A visa, the only temporary guest worker program for agriculture. Being here with that visa means he is guaranteed a tax-free, $9.30-an-hour wage, free housing and free transportation to and from Mexico.  Despite performing the same arduous work that keeps American agriculture afloat, they represent a tale of two labor groups: The select few with an H-2A visa are entitled to an elevated life while swaths of undocumented workers take a gamble, hoping for the best." - Medill News Service, Nov. 6, 2011.