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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

Something Rotten in the State of Georgia

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If the goal of the harsh new Georgia immigration law was to drive out illegally present workers and deter others from coming to the state, it is working very well. But this new measure is now falling in to the "be careful what you wish for" category. Even though the new law is being blocked (for now) by the courts, it is still causing many migrant workers to take Georgia off the itinerary and look for farm work elsewhere. Governor Deal thought sending convicts in to the fields and orchards would be the solution. But lo and behold, they walked off the job complaining the work was too tough. And now there are reports that Georgia's crops are in serious trouble with much of it already rotting because there are not enough workers.


The Daily, the new online newspaper, has an extensive story on the problems in Georgia that is worth a read.


Anti-immigrant groups love to portray these harsh new laws as helping to open up jobs for Americans. But when Americans don't do the work, not only is there no job creation benefit, but others up the chain - the truckers who ship the food, the factory workers who turn the food into the products we buy at supermarkets, etc. lose their jobs. And we end up importing food to make up the difference or just deal with jacked up prices that are the natural response to a shortage situation. 


These are results that only exacerbate the bad economy. Perhaps Georgia will provide Americans the imperical evidence they need to see the necessity of a more open immigration policy.

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Comments

  1. HUNTPATTI's Avatar
    If you're in uncomfortable position and have got no money to move out from that, you would have to receive the mortgage loans. Just because that would aid you definitely. I take short term loan every time I need and feel good because of this.
  2. Another Voice's Avatar
    Jack here are some of the "scare tactics" you talked about.... tell that to these agro business that just lost their 2011 revenue thanks to the brilliant idea of your crowd you know the "deport them all" crowd. I am sure these farmers are just loving you guys, I am sure the love of consumers and all other affected parties will follow... But do not worry Jack, you just stick to the talking points that is your crowd's strategy, double down on the rhetoric regardless on how dumb it is...Maybe you can get some of the unemployed "deport them all crowd" to go work the fields for us, I do not want to pay up at the register because of your dumb idea...
  3. George Chell back from Singapore's Avatar
    Racist Nathan "Crooked" Deal and his fellow racist white Georgians are desperately trying to keep their state majority white even as blacks move into it...that is the only issue in this Jim Crow state!
  4. Another Voice's Avatar
    Immigration bill clarifies a once-muddy debate
    7:27 am July 5, 2011, by Jay

    NOTE: This is the electronic version of today's AJC column.

    Whatever else it accomplishes, passage of House Bill 87 has brought a welcome clarity to the debate over illegal immigration in Georgia. It has cast sunlight where there used to be shadows and has forced hypocrisy out into the open.

    For example, do illegal immigrants perform labor that most Georgians are unwilling or even unable to do? The once contentious question now has an answer: Yes, in many cases they do. Acres and acres of crops now rotting in the south Georgia sunshine offer mute testament to that fact that agricultural labor is hard, and that most people in Western industrialized countries don't want to do it.

    And have Georgia farmers become dependent on that illegal workforce, in many cases building their entire economic structure on the availability of cheap and undocumented labor?

    Until recently, the state agriculture community had clung to the fiction that only a small and unknowable percentage of their labor was here illegally. However, as their workforce shrinks in the wake of HB 87, such denials have become impossible to sustain. The degree to which they have relied on illegal labor is now painfully clear, and will be reflected on many a bottom line.

    In fact, farmers have until now enjoyed the best of both worlds. As long as lax enforcement of federal immigration law gave them access to a large, docile and for the most part invisible workforce, they could sit back and remain quiet in the politically charged debate over amnesty and other measures intended to rationalize immigration. (It didn't hurt that keeping those workers illegal created an all-but-captive workforce that had few other options.)

    Members of Georgia's congressional delegation have long been complicit in that two-sided game. They have quietly blocked periodic attempts by the federal government to enforce immigration laws more stringently, while simultaneously railing against the presence of the very illegal immigrants they were helping to protect.

    Passage of HB 87 has ended that sweet little arrangement. If the state's agriculture industry wants continued access to that workforce, they need to become vocal advocates for some means of legalizing and protecting it. They need to publicly acknowledge that a population vilified by many as a drain on the state's economy is in fact a necessity in much of rural Georgia, and they need to start electing public officials who are willing to make that argument in Washington and here in Atlanta.

    If they have workers they want to keep, they need to fight for them. And that does not mean adopting the Utah approach of trying to "legalize" illegal immigrants at the state level, giving them permission to be in the state as long as they agree to remain in the fields picking crops and don't have any higher ambitions. (HB 87 includes a provision calling for a study of that approach).

    Such a program would be wildly unconstitutional. And perhaps just as important, we are long past the days when we condemn a population to servitude in manual labor, allowing them to do that but dream of nothing else.

    By the way, everything that can be said about the political silence of Georgia agriculture industry regarding the fate of its workforce, and the price they're paying for it, can also be said about other industries, especially restaurants, hotels and other service-related industries.

    The answer to this dilemma will come not in piecemeal state legislation, but in a federal law that simultaneously tightens laws against hiring of illegal labor while offering those already here a path to citizenship. Anything else is fruitless.

    - Jay Bookman
  5. molly's Avatar
    FOR GENERATIONS LEGAL IMMIGRANTS HAVE WORKED MANY OF THE FARMS.
    THIS HAS BEEN SUCCESSFUL.
    ANYONE WORKING OUT IN THE ELEMENTS- HOT OR COLD- STICK IT OUT; IT IS WHERE WE WANT TO BE.
    NOT ALL AMERICANS ARE WIMPS; AND THERE ARE ALSO PLENTY OF LEGAL IMMIGRANTS WHO WOULD WORK FOR THE FARMERS.
    FARMERS NEED TO BE INNOVATIVE- THIS IS WHAT IT WILL TAKE; AND THEY CAN BE SUCCESSFUL.
    IF THEY DO NOT KNOW HOW TO MAKE THEIR FARMS PROSPER- THEY NEED TO HIRE SOMEONE WHO KNOWS HOW TO MAKE IT WORK FOR ALL, INVOLVED.
    HIRE AMERICAN,AND- HIRE >LEGALS
  6. Another Voice's Avatar
    "FOR GENERATIONS LEGAL IMMIGRANTS HAVE WORKED MANY OF THE FARMS."

    Show us the evidence....where in America is this happening, how come the farmers that "do this" are not coming forward with that solution, if it is actually available, the evidence today points to the contrary.

    "FARMERS NEED TO BE INNOVATIVE- THIS IS WHAT IT WILL TAKE; AND THEY CAN BE SUCCESSFUL."

    Perhaps you can showed them how... apparently you know something they do not and some how the entire farming industry in the US can not get US citizens to work the fields, legal immigrants come here for a better life not to be farmers. Just ask the people that post here in the blog, how come they are not applying for the farming jobs.

    "HIRE AMERICAN,AND- HIRE >LEGALS
  7. US Visa Extension's Avatar
    Millions of dollars worth of crops are rotting in Georgia fields, an unintended result of the state's harsh immigration reform law that has reportedly driven away many of the illegal immigrants who were employed as agricultural workers, according to multiple reports.
  8. George Chell 's Avatar
    For generation Molly's family has been farmers because of agricultural subsidies. The most efficient solution should be to remove agricultural subsidies and see what happens to illegal immigration. I am hopeful (perhaps naive) that a budget agreement to avoid default on August 2 will do just that! Then they dont need to hire anyone. Perhaps we should buy our produce from Mexico!
  9. gg's Avatar
    Slavery in the US in full swing thanks to legalized loopholes in the visa systm

    http://inthearena.blogs.cnn.com/2011/06/23/expert-40000-slaves-currently-in-u-s/
  10. Another Voice's Avatar
    "Slavery in the US in full swing thanks to legalized loopholes in the visa system"

    I guess that means competitive advantage for US farmers....
  11. gg's Avatar
    "I guess that means competitive advantage for US farmers...."

    No that means slavery period !

    LAND OF THE FREE, HOME OF THE SLAVES - CNN
  12. Another Voice's Avatar
    Georgia begins appeal after judge blocks parts of immigration law
    www.cnn.com
    Attorneys representing Georgia said the state is asking an appeals court to overturn a judge's decision blocking several parts of the state's new immigration law.
  13. Another Voice's Avatar
    Immigration debate shifting to education, enforcement

    A trend for new bipartisan immigration policy is emerging that focuses on two immigration issues: granting more green cards to educated immigrants and increasing internal enforcement.

    http://www.ajc.com/opinion/immigration-debate-shifting-to-1002526.html
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