"After enactment of House Bill 87, a law designed to drive illegal immigrants out of Georgia, state officials appear shocked to discover that HB 87 is, well, driving a lot of illegal immigrants out of Georgia.
It might almost be funny if it wasn’t so sad.
The resulting manpower shortage has forced state farmers to leave millions of dollars’ worth of blueberries, onions and other crops unharvested and rotting in the fields. It has also put state officials into something of a panic at the damage they’ve done to Georgia’s largest industry."
http://blogs.ajc.com/jay-bookman-blog/2 … s-planned/
Anyone wonder why we need comprehensive federal immigration reform?
I am not American so can't delve into your politics, but i'll tell you my observations.
Most of the industries that require manual labor depend on illegal aliens yet the country spend billions of dollars each year to deport/get rid of these immigrants.
Yesterday there were 4 old school buses with the tops cut off and used for transporting watermelons parked along side of the road a couple of hundreds of yards from my home. There was a road block and the drivers were hauled away because they were illegals.
The buses, filled to the top with watermelons, sat by the road for a few hours until the owners could transport them to the market. Another farmer expected 800 migrant workers to pick a huge field of peppers but only 175 showed up. This guy has thousands of acres of other produce planted and is afraid he will lose most of it.
I understand we need to do something about illegal immigration, but the timing of the present crackdown is going to harm many farmers and small businesses. The migrants spend lots of money in the many small towns in southern Georgia so this will hurt the Mom and Pop stores too.
I don't want to hear anyone complain when the price of fresh produce goes through the roof.
What do you find so objectionable about the concept of foreign workers obeying United States law? Based on your premise, I can come to your house and violate the rules of your home as well. Better yet, I can take your money without your permission while doing so. Better yet, I can use your money to support and educate my children and myself, using benefits you and your children are denied. Better yet, I can use your money to pay for health care for myself and my family without cost to myself. Better yet, I can violate your house laws and be assured of a fair trial and then, if found guilty, live at taxpayer expense to the tune of 50-55, 000 dollars a year and expect to receive job training or an education while incarcerated--priviledges you Doug, could not hope to expect if incarcerated in Mexico. Better yet, I can come to your house illegally, have children at your expense and then expect that you and your family support my children thereafter--educate them, provide medical assistance and welfare. Then, at the conclusion of all this I am expected to thank you for the valuable contribution you make to constructive citizenship and a better United States.
Doug--Please use something other than emotion to evaluate what is going on here.
Consider the situation for the farmer in Georgia. He doesn't like using illegal immigrant labor any more than Thomas Jefferson liked using slave labor.
Like TJ, the farmer has crops that have to get to market before he can pay the bills.
No legislation will satisfy everyone, but the situation in Georgia, which is the product of Teabagger stupidity, points out the NEED for comprehensive federal immigration reform.
BTW, you accused me of using an emotional argument. I don't see it. The article I cited and the short statement I wrote factually described the consequences of dogmatic ignorance.
Yes, foreign workers (and the local employers who hire them!) should follow US law, but I don't think most native born Americans realize how expensive, time consuming, and difficult it is to get a US visa... any visa.
Impoverished Mexicans with poor English skills and no job prospects at home don't have a chance, but they don't see themselves as having a choice. If you're desperate enough for work, you'll do anything.
what you are saying is ignorant and buffoonish ,and you are just repeating what the right wing nut talking heads have brainwashed you to believe ,the illegals getting all those benefits you 're talking about without paying for it is an urban legend ,any benefits illegals get are the exception to the rule and few and far between.the great majority of illegals work hard,pay taxes,get no benefits,illegals DON'T get: food stamps,unemployment,medicare or medicaid,disability,or any welfare program, the contribution illegals make to our society greatly outweighs the cost,no matter what the bigots and xenophobes claim to be the truth, with their fake stats and finagled numbers.
Those coming to the U.S. need to obey our laws. Consider how you would react If the people of the U.S. were doing in Mexico what they are doing here. I believe in a guest worker program and for those visiting this country to respect our laws just as they expect me to obey theirs when in Mexico. There is no excuse for what is happening. If the U.S. eliminated any monetary benefit currently provided illegal immigrants, including work, how long do you think the U.S. would have an illegal immigration problem? Illegals come to the United States because there is a monetary benefit. When they work--illegally and when they have children making them eligible for social welfare and other benefits at taxpayer expense.
I sympathize with a need to work and support a family (had that experience myself), but good citizenship begins with respect and responsible conduct. Illegals have the option of applying for a work visa, but choose not too. Sorry you feel that only certain classes of people need to obey the law and others can just ignore it.
unbelievable,Randy- that scene sounds like something from a movie.
So... the fact that habitual law breakers need to adjust means the laws are bad? The concept of the family farmer struggling to feed his family in the US is an outdated misnomer at best. The VAST majority of US farmland is big-agribusiness taking billions in subsidies whose purposes sunset decades ago... while simultaneously breaking minimum wage laws. Yet somehow WalMart is evil, and farmers are just trying to make a living. It's simply not based on reality.
Which is it? Do we as a people believe in a minimum wage, and basic employee rights... or do we believe in the "rights" of people who have cut in front of millions in line to live and work wherever they choose? To say the two notions are at odds is an understatement. According to minimum wage laws, the farmers are criminals.
Two years ago, I was hit twice in the same year by illegal aliens driving with stolen identities.
Try going through that once.... then do it again.
I have a close friend who just got her U.S. citizenship from Vietnam. She has 2 post-graduate degrees and is an asset to the community in every way. It took her 14 years... meanwhile people are jumping the border at every opportunity to have babies here so their medical will all be free (free ALWAYS means you and I pay for it in case anyone still hasn't figured out that bit), and their babies born citizens.
Explain how that's fair to my friend from Vietnam who followed the rules, paid for her own medical bills when her daughter was born, and had to PROVE her value to our nation to EARN her citizenship.
Speaking of dogmatic ignorance..
The estimate by Georgia is that they are 11,000 workers short. I work outside in the Florida heat. You aren't going to get American people to do backbreaking work in the heat for minimum wage.
If the free market answer is to raise wages 50%, GA farmers can't compete with the states the workers went to.
It's a rational, not emotional, argument that comprehensive federal immigration reform is the only answer. The shape of that legislation needs to recognise - we rely on cheap foreign labor. The Teabagger kooks in Georgia proved it.
I have a friend whose family owns one of the largest citrus companies in the state, another who used to be an attorney for a sugar conglomerate, a former roommate who is currently a lobbyists (in a different industry, though we've had long conversations about this one), and several friends who were raised on farms.
For a different perspective, I occasionally teach an after-school program in a school where approximately 20% of the parents are here illegally.
... and SEVERAL friends working for YEARS to procure citizenship legally.
Yeah. I'm just a racist.
There was never any doubt you were not personally involved in the business, Sage. Your posts make that plain enough. What exactly do you do for a living which gives you so much insight into the agribusiness world of all farmers?
How much does a farmer get for an entire box of peppers compared to what they sell for in a supermarket? Your answer will tell the tale!
I feel like this is such a tough subject! I live in Florida and so I hear a lot about it. It makes me angry sometimes (when I'm being a brat) that there are so many illegal immigrants and half of them don't speak English, etc. However, I think my distaste for it came when I lived in a very low income area where I was definitely the minority and I was gawked at, "hollered" at and harassed every time I left my apartment. That being said I also find it very very sad that a lot of times it's the illegal immigrants who are willing to work so very hard doing the jobs most Americans apparently feel their too good to do and hardly make anything.
There are plenty of people who need jobs and if farmers really wanted too they could find people to work their fields. The problem is they're too cheap and a lot of unemployed Americans are far too lazy. For the record, this is not directed at those who are actually seeking employment, rather, those like my step father who was out of work for 2 years on unemployment while he played video games.
Anyways, I think everyone should be paid fairly for the work they do, and I think it's a cop out that the farmers can't harvest their fields just because the immigrants are being removed.
Beyond that, my husband volunteers for an organization that spends time investigating and rescuing men (but mostly women) from slave labor rings and sex trafficking. And a lot of these "poor farmers" who are losing their workers pretty much deserve it, because they treat their workers like slaves, locking them up at night and taking them to soup kitchens for food. (at least that's how it is in Florida, especially near Hastings) So I have a hard time feeling sorry for them.
I probably offended someone, and I'm sorry, that's never my intention, just saying what I believe.
Jenn - it IS a tough subject. Nothing that will get done will be fair to everyone, but doing nothing at the federal level is worse.
I don't like workers being exploited. Reform could address that. Wages - working conditions & living conditions. No more slavery. A level playing field for all agribusiness.
I don't like gangs & criminal activity. Get all workers on documentation, and deport troublemakers. Playing Whack-a-mole with anyone of a dark complexion won't solve it.
If the needs of agribusiness are met - a supply of documented cheap labor - make it very expensive to cheat. This same system can be extended to any industry where it makes sense to use foreign labor.
How many foreign workers and in what industries is a policy decision which should be made at the federal level.
Ideology is trumping reason and how much Georgia will loose has yet to be counted.
Institutionalized slavery, criminal black markets, the degradation of our laws, and the laundry list of crimes, taxpayer burdens, identity thefts, and other problems that go with these things...
Never mind. If anyone cant see these things are not in society's best interest, there's no point.
It's the racism thing that gets me mad sometimes. So many people have given their lives to moving us forward... yet ignorance keeps us treading the same muck again and again... unable to have a rational conversation about anything without attributing the opposing side's views to racism.
MLK would hang his head in shame.
Crappy laws made and enacted as some kind of dividing line between two political camps must inevitably cause total confusion.
How is it not possible to come up with migrant worker status that allows people to work in one country but still live in another - How is it not possible to come up with relatively simple visa conditions that allow the poeple who need the work and the people who want the workers to do things legally.
Your local government and lawmakers are the business people who benefit from the near slave labour.
Good ol' institutionalized racism!
Notice how the companies wanted the immigrants, but the government kicked em out.
I really feel for the immigrants themselves. I don't think they really want to be illegal. If they could be legal, they would be, then they'd be entitled to minimum wage and somebody else would be picking the blueberries, or else blueberries would cost about quadruple the amount they do.
I'd have to agree with the sentiment as most would, but the labor cost is actually a very small fraction of the total cost to market. If one wanted to make a point that total cost to the consumer for certain crops could go up 10%, they might have a point, but the economic realities of farming simply don't support the notion that we have no choice but to toss aside all the laws we hold everyone else to or starve as a nation. Agri-business is BIG BIG BIG business which takes BILLIONS in subsidies which in many cases are for conditions that have literally not existed for decades, and they have apparently convinced the public with slick ads featuring "family farmers" that theirs is a cottage industry.
It's just sad that people can't discuss the reality of a broken system which creates laws that push the minimum wage ever-upward while allowing big agri-business to become ever more profitable by breaking the law... without resorting to calling anyone who sees this as a problem a racist.
Big companies want illegal chemicals which damage the environment, and the government kicks them out too. Is that institutionalized racism as well? How is it different. Of ourse businesses want to do whatever they feel like to maximize profits regardless of the law and the cost to society. Of course the government's JOB is to enforce the law. If the government is NOT supposed to enforce the law when big business attempts to profit from breaking it, then what exactly IS the government supposed to do?
One might consider stopping setting race relations backward by making ill-conceived claims of racism. No one benefits from a society that simply resorts to playing that card in every scenario involving attempts to enforce the law. One might also consider whether it is worth having laws at all if we do not enforce them... and whether we are actually doing more harm in those cases by having laws at all since it is now only the criminals who profit.
Down here, it's sugar. The entire industry is in a very few hands. They spend millions on lobbyists. They are unnaturally propped up with government enforced price supports. They literally have reaped BILLIONS in profits. They could pay twice what they pay to workers and still profit in Billions... but they don't. They avoid the HR issues, the health insurance issues, the tax issues. What exactly would you say if YOUR employer did the same thing?
They screw the government, the locals, and stick their middle finger up at the very notion of playing by society's rules as they take BILLIONS in government subsidies while purchasing government protection and destroying the local community by creating an undocumented underclass rife with crime, identity theft, and millions upon millions of dollars in hospital bills eventually passed on to the taxpayer.
And they're the good guys? Look again.
What is it called when we look at a system and see that only those who break the law thrive while competitors who adhere to them are driven out of business? What do we call a system that pisses on the very notion of a fair wage, and circumvents every aspect of workers' rights that have been fought for and won over more than a century of struggle?
If the attempt to FIX that is called racism, then what exactly is the thing itself caled? Utopia?
I don't know if things have changed - I'm incredibly old now and don't keep up with some thngs, ut in my younger years it was almost essential for students and other young people to go off and see the world.
They would finance themselves by grape picking in France, olive picking in Greece, citrus fruit picking in Israel and so on.
More recently I lived near an asparagus farm that employed south Africans to pick asparagus.
No stable community can provide enough seasonal workers without employing outside, usually foreign labour, irrespective of the cost of labour.
Of course we could always go back to the good old days. Ever wonder why summer school holidays are so long? It was so the kids could go and work in the fields bringing in the harvest.
I think we need to remember that all that live hear in America really were not from here and we are hear to create a culture of understanding
And we need to create more reasonable laws and look at that now we are even having Problems with the crops.I believe we should try to create solutions and not end a lifestyle that has been the reason why we have been blessed.Stop the cruelty or someday it will be our turn to have to migrate somewhere and be treated the same way we are treating others remember in God We Trust We came to this country because of Religious belief and Freedom and We were not Americans the Indians were.We have been blessed here and we have prospered lets unite and create a solutions that does not involve cruelty.
If I want to see cruelty, I can go less than a mile and see workers ensnared into indentured servitude via company commissary and the like... 12 hour workdays for sub-minimum wage, living conditions that are unimaginable, and a cash-only subculture with a stratospheric internal crime rate... the majority of which goes unreported.
If I want perspective, I can have conversations with the local hospital about the millions upon millions of dollars in medical services they provide for those with zero or fake identities. If I want more, I can ask the local police about mandates they've received regarding not being ALLOWED to enforce the law.
... all the direct results of the fact that we passed laws for immigration, and then chose not to enforce them... directly CREATING these black market conditions.
Hell, I can see all that so close I don't even have to drive.
Yes they are exploited but they have enough on there back lets show some mercy and find a solution that does not involve any more Cruelty People just picking on them and on top of that some of them die just trying to get to this country trying to seek a better life for themselves and their children.Yes there is a group that come to this country and sell drug and get involved in Crime activity But what does the Poor farm worker have anything to do with this.If anything we should have harder laws for the companies that exploit them.I am not all anti Immigration Law there has to be something done but lets do it in a fashion that we can be proud of.This subject is tough,but like everything we go through we can pull through this situation with grace we will find a good reasonable solution for this problem We are after all one of the best Countries in the World.I stand proud of that fact.
When I was a kid, I worked on the muck for extra money, picking potatoes and onions, which grew well in very wet land where machines would get bogged down. It was hard, backbreaking work, but I was glad of the money.
I also picked apples. Believe me, this work is no picnic. I just can't imagine doing it for a living, now, or as a permanent career. I can't imagine being trapped in that life of a migrant worker.
Regardless of the legalities of the situation, these people that pick the crops are underpaid and vastly underappreciated. They bring food to our table, and all we can do is treat the people like undesirables and drive them out.
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