Georgia Immigration Bill Already Costing State Millions

Despite warnings from the business community, Georgia passed a harsh immigration measure similar to Arizona’s SB 1070.  Local business interests warned legislators the bill, which allows for stops and detentions based on a suspicion that a person is in the country illegally, would drive critical workers from the state, negatively impacting the state’s key agricultural industries.

According to CNN, those predictions appear to be coming true.

Growers in the state say that many migrant workers are bypassing the state.  And that means growers are in a scramble to get fruits and vegetables picked before they rot.  Early estimates by the local growers association place the losses at about $250 million for this year alone.

By some estimates, migrant crews are down as much as 50% simply because people are afraid to come.  Supporters of the measure say that is proof the bill is working because it is obviously deterring undocumented workers from the state.

But those who actually work in the agriculture business say otherwise.  A migrant worker, in the country legally, can be detained on police suspicion.  Those detentions can take several hours, if not days, to verify a worker’s legal immigration status.  But by the time that has happened that worker has not reported to his or her job, resulting in their termination.  Once their work is terminated their visa is no longer valid, effectively turning a legal immigrant into an illegal one.

For many migrant workers such a possibility is simply too much to risk and so they find work elsewhere.

With economic recovery in many states barely sputtering along, can we really afford this kind of misinformed and ill-intentioned economic policy?  If you ask the business community in Georgia, the answer is pretty clearly no.

Take Action: Tell Georgia that immigrant rights are civil rights!


photo courtesy of Barnaby via Flickr


Winn Adams
Winn A3 years ago

No surprise here.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you for article.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you for article.

Sarah M.
Sarah M5 years ago

what did you think was going to happen you idiots? people against immigrants clearly overlook the fact that our nation heavily depends on them.

Robert O.
Robert O5 years ago

My post got cut off.

"...Not all immigrants are bad people and not all Hispanics are bad or immigrants.

I'd advise people to be careful how they treat others since you don't want to paint entire groups with a single brushstroke or alienate Hispanic Americans since you don't want to be on their bad side...ever. Think about it: they're the second largest segement of the population and have incredible buying power and increasing poitical power and influence. There are also more native born Hispanics and legalized citizens than you think and they're more poweful than you think. Of course that's where a lot of the tension is coming from since certain people feel that all minorites should remain docile and subservient to those that consider themselves to be superior to others by virtue of race or political affilaition.

By the way, "illegals" is an offensive ter, Undocumented immigrnats is more appropriate and not as vitriolic.

Robert O.
Robert O5 years ago

Well at least we know where all the racists are today. I'm not at all surprised at Georgia's woes since Arzona is experiencing the same thing to it's hate based legislation and knee-jerk reactions. You reap what you sow. Plant the seeds of hatred you grow weeds despair.

Past Member, they are not taking jobs from anyone. They do the most laborious, dangerous thankless work for a fraction of the pay those jobs are worth. They are being systematically exploited. Americans are not lining up to do those jobs and they need to be done by somebody. The problem is many people (mainly Caucasians but a few others as well) are facing economic woes and joblessness and feel pissed off when they see people they feel are inferior to them that have jobs and are earning money. I say deal with it. It's luck of the draw and depends also on what industry one works in, your skills, experience, ability etc. It's not based on the fact that because you think you're a White American that gives you first pick of everything in life.

The immigration system needs to be reformed yes, but throughly and compassionately and on the FEDERAL level, not by a patchwork of state laws and not with legislation that in effect seeks to legalize racism and use immigrants and all Hispanics regardless of legal status and national origin as a dumping ground for ignorant racist's anger, xenophobia, nationalism and protectionism. Not all immigrants are bad people and not all Hispanics are bad or immigrants

Allan Yorkowitz
.5 years ago

Give these jobs to the Georgia unemployed. How dare growers complain they have nobody to pick their fruit?
This is what disgusted Ronald Reagan. We could reduce the amount of unemployment payments per person, by employing them to do other kinds of employment, until a position in their field came along.

Geraldine H.
Gerri Hennessy5 years ago

This sounds insane!!! Surley they can find a better was .. we have sent men to the moon and we cannot find a way to quickly identify people.....

Lynne B.
Lynne Buckley5 years ago

Big surprise.... not.

John T.
John T5 years ago

First things first; Jessica Pieklo has a very hard time writing a balanced piece. This is another one of her 'ignore the facts, stress hyperbole' diatribes.
2nd, in any country where you visit, you MUST carry your government issued permit for being there with you at all times. If the Swiss police pull you over for a traffic violation, they will ask for those papers. If you can not produce them, you will spend time, as their guest, in some sort of detention center.
Third, in the 1850s the south declared that they HAD to have slaves in order to pick the cotton in the fields. This despite the fact that Eli Whitney had developed the cotton gin already. After the Civil War, Whitney made a fortune selling cotton gins which replaced the slave labor.
We can put a man on the moon but we can't make a machine to pick fruit? I don't believe it.
We have machines that pick and husk corn. Machines that pick, clean, and bag potatoes.
As this article from wiki explains, some machines already exist, some are in trials and some are still in the development stage.

Fruit Farmer Frank doesn't even have to buy the machines. He can call a company which will bring in the machines and operators that will do the job quickly and efficiently, weather permitting, at a fair price.
BUT, if FFF can get enough migrants at a CHEAP price, that's more in his pocket.
It's always about the 'floor price' of labor.