Georgia’s Harsh Immigration Law Leaves Crops Rotting in Fields
Monday, June 27, 2011
Gov. Nathan Deal
Fed up with the presence of illegal immigrants in their state, lawmakers in Georgia recently adopted legislation intended to drive such individuals “back home.”
In the process of doing so, politicians have crippled Georgia’s largest economic sector: agriculture, much to the annoyance of many farmers, who were left out of the loop when the law was being crafted.
With the enactment of House Bill 87, the “Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011,” thousands of farmworkers fled the state, leaving millions of dollars in crops—blueberries, onions, melons and others—to sit rotting in the fields.
Georgia is in need of more than 11,000 field hands, but the only solution offered up so far by Republican Governor Nathan Deal is for farmers to hire 2,000 ex-cons.
The average farmworker job pays only $8 an hour, with little or no benefits, which helps to explain why Georgians are not flocking to fill the void left behind by the vacating illegal immigrants.