Foreign Policy Blogs

Georgia, Rotting on the Vine

I was born in Georgia. Edilberto was not, but he has toiled in Georgia’s onion fields for the past 16 years. By all signs, he has led a contented, albeit hard, life in the state where his three children were born. Now though, he is planning to move to North Carolina. This is because on July 1 parts of a new immigration law—HB 87—took effect in Georgia, requiring employers with more than ten workers to check the immigration status of a new hire in a federal database; another stipulation makes it a felony to give false information on a job application. These, and a ream of other provisions, are meant to curb the number of those living in Georgia who were not born in the US.

There are around 425,000 undocumented workers in Georgia, but that number will likely decrease. Anecdotal evidence points to an exodus to neighboring states, especially Florida—where no special immigration laws are afoot—and the Carolinas. Many agricultural workers start their year in Florida and migrate north with the harvest season. This year Georgia is being skipped, according to a recent article in the Economist. Rough estimates say the number of farm hands is down by 30%.

Immigrants like Edilberto aren’t the only ones concerned about the impact of the new immigration law. Farmers and economists in Georgia are also expressing doubts. In a recent survey conducted by the Georgia Agribusiness Council, also cited by the Economist, 46% of respondents said they had too few workers. The head of a farmer’s group estimates that the state’s $1.1 billion fruit-and-vegetable industry could suffer a loss of $300 million.

Gary Paulk, a blackberry farmer interviewed by PRI’s the World, says he has lost $200,00-250,00 this season, as unpicked berries rot. “Having a fake ID, a first-time offense can be up to 10 years, and $100,000 fine,” Paulk said. “I mean that’s, that’s like a felony. A felony to use a fake ID to get a job to support your family.” Short-handed farmers and contractors are even traveling to Florida to try and recruit workers. But afraid of Georgia’s new law the workers are marking time in the Sunshine State.

Granted, all illegal immigrants in the US should be held accountable. The ones who have broke no law other than illegal entry should be fined or forced to apply for a seasonal work visa. (These need to be made available in greater numbers). Those caught breaking any serious law should be quickly deported. But intolerance of low-skilled foreign labor is foolhardy. If the good ol’ boys continue to think that legislation like HB 87 is the solution, they deserve the economic backlash that goes with such a benighted remedy.

  • Brittanicus

    The illegal immigration plague is not going to fade away under current political parties. Liberals who have infested the Democratic Party are looking for millions of votes, whether legal or–ILLEGAL? The Republicans fare no better in this overwhelming problem, as the elitists and corporate hugger’s in the party, have over previous decades made fortunes from the uncountable numbers of illegal aliens that have arrived here by plane, ship or across the porous borders. Under the Obama’s rule in one hand, he seems to be cracking down on illegal immigration, but by the other hand there are orders out there just to apprehend dangerous criminal aliens. THIS IS WAR THAT IS TEARING AMERICA APART AND IT’S BECOMING EVEN WORSE EVERYDAY. The first immigration amnesty of 1986 was a complete failure as it was never enforced and millions turned up here, to take advantage of it, by using forged documents.

    The so-called Dream Act through has its benefits, cannot be passed as once the students attain the special privilege of citizenship, can begin partitioning for family members. At the beginning there would be a limited stream of family members able to come here. But in due course, the trickle of the family circle would turn into a deluge. This sponsorship of family members would eventually explode in to a CHAIN MIGRATION AVALANCHE. The biggest consequences would be the sponsorship issue, as ultimately hundreds of thousands or even millions will not be supported by the original sponsor and they will have to apply, for SSI or other federal benefits to survive. This is what happened with the 1986 Simpson/Mazzoli immigration bill, as the pushers of enactment never thought of the monetary penalty of CHAIN MIGRATION.

    These activists who are demanding a referendum on the Dream Act, indicating they have 130.000 signatures, cannot even compete with two thirds or even more of the population of America who see this as another mass Amnesty, with CHAIN MIGRATION.

    As unpleasant as it is, millions must be removed from this country by either force or self-deportation called Attrition by enforcement. This can only be achieved by mandating the two controversial tools; one being “E-Verify or the Secure Communities” laws. It is the TEA PARTY and only the TEA PARTY will enforce the 1986 immigration law, that it is not “broken” as the leftist press keeps repeating. South Carolina found a chink in the armor of the Liberal progressives, Democrats that are creating a new police unit to enforce a law that would make it a felony to manufacture fake identification for illegal immigrants. This one far-reaching provision that would penalize people, who use a forged ID to get a job, or for that matter punishment for using other people’s credit for criminal enterprises; 15 years in jail and up to $250,000 in fines.


    Americans should not hesitate and demand of the TEA PARTY leadership that already knows of the costs of illegal immigration, which continues and continues, with no real help from the feds to reduce it. For true information about costs, sources and statistics go to (FAIRS) Federation of American Immigration Reform website. To learn more about the corruption inside both parties, you find it at “Judicial Watch” website. To find out whose pandering to illegal immigrants in both parties and to acquaint yourselves with the policy makers, who have American citizens and legal residents interests go to “NumbersUSA” website. There are thousands of branches of the TEA PARTY and a national headquarters, so join them now. It’s really our last chance to take America back from the financial decay.

    You should also introduce yourself as a voter to the people who run this devastated country, at the Senate phone switchboard—202-224–3121/ House—202-225–3121 and tell them it’s time to produce results. To remove the stigma of instant citizenship for the babies of illegal aliens, that is by far the most expensive dollar figure from taxpayer’s pockets. Our tax dollars go to supporting agriculture that send their sick and injured to local hospitals for treatment, leaving without paying the bills that eventually is picked up by taxpayers. Same with the farm illegal workers children, that by law we must educate and pay the never ending bills? Our schools are crammed to capacity, full of the children of illegal migrants and over stay immigrants, the health system slowly falling apart as more hospitals start failing from families to be treated; uninsured with many of these institutions unable to survive.

    Then we have the US penal system choking with illegal alien criminals, which is yet another tax hike for the American population. All these financial problems are national, and the only way to prevent another mass amnesty, cut off all welfare and money payments and arrest those responsible for Sanctuary cities and towns and stop any access to immigration reform including volume Chain Migration through a clandestine Dream Act is by voting for more TEA PARTY candidates. There is so much fraud through working visa applications, in collusion with incorrigible immigration attorneys, corporations and middle men who forge documents to bring in foreign labor. The government agencies are also corrupt with taxpayer’s money to by favors from open border lobbyists. It is every prudent and patriotic Americans stringent responsibility to fight back against the terrible corruption for profit and power and against the illegal immigration invasion.

    As an addendum I have no problem with people who are processed and await their turn, as hundreds of thousands do. Special visas should expedite highly technological and professional people into a country that welcomes them. But just entering America should be strictly controlled with a felony punishment; not a slap on the hand. This must be Non-Persona-Grata for every other person, especially those who have to be supported by taxpayers, which is the majority. Corporations should be punished for bringing into this country people on the bottom skill level, as they too might end up in the bread line. Stealthily through prior administrations, millions enter America annually without the knowledge of the people to work in different industries, at reduced wages.

    Those of us who want our vote to count in the 2012 presidential election, must have oversight against illegal aliens using the election process, to re-elect the same old, tired men and women, who interests is to keep the illegal alien invaders still stealing from our sovereign nation. IT’S AN UGLY BATTLE AND WE MUST WIN IT, FOR OUR CHILDREN AND GRAND CHILDREN’S FUTURE.

    • Jaws7

      The good thing about some states having strong immigration laws and others not having them will allow us to determine if these migrant workers cost us more than they contribute. As for our rising medical costs it has to do more with our lifestyle than immigrant workers.

  • Jack Davis

    “The ones who have broke no law other than illegal entry should be fined or forced to apply for a seasonal work visa.”

    I could not agree more. The labor is necessary, but a fine/ tax of some sort is needed to cover the social cost of health care/education/other government services. Or the immigrant could be declared ineligible for government benefits for two years.