Georgia’s new immigration bill might influence what state farmers can grow
Share Now on:
Jeremy Hobson: To Georgia now where the criticism is pouring in after the state’s governor Nathan Deal signed an Arizona-style immigration bill targeting undocumented residents. Tourism and convention officials in Atlanta fear it will lead to an economic boycott.
And there are concerns about the effect it’ll have on farmers as Jeanne Bonner of Georgia Public Broadcasting reports.
Jeanne Bonner: Georgia’s law requires businesses with 11 employees or more to use the federal “e-verify” system to make sure workers are legal. Officials in Georgia’s agriculture industry are concerned about its impact on the workforce.
Charles Hall: You have to have the migrant worker, or else you can’t get your crop in.
That’s Charles Hall of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association. Hall says without teams of migrant workers, farmers may switch from growing key Georgia crops like peaches and Vidalia onions to other produce that machines can harvest.
Hall: A row crop — a cotton, a peanut, a soybean — does not require the hand labor and the harvest labor that vegetables or peaches or blueberries do.
It’s unclear how strictly the state will enforce the provision. But the bill’s sponsor, Republican State Senator Matt Ramsey, says it removes the number one incentive that brings illegal immigrants to Georgia.
Matt Ramsey: That’s access to jobs.
Some of the law’s provisions take effect July 1.
In Atlanta, I’m Jeanne Bonner for Marketplace.
If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air. But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.
Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.
When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.