Migrant farmworkers are bypassing Georgia because of the state’s tough new immigration enforcement law, creating a severe labor shortage among fruit and vegetable growers here and potentially putting hundreds of millions of dollars in crops in jeopardy, agricultural industry leaders said this week.Who could have predicted such a thing?
Anyway, how is it going?
Charles Hall, executive director of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, said he has been in close contact with Labor Commissioner Mark Butler and Agricultural Commissioner Gary Black about the shortage, calling it the most severe he has seen. Hall said it’s possible state officials could hold job fairs to steer some of Georgia’s unemployed workers to these farm jobs, which pay $12.50 an hour on average. The state’s unemployment rate is now at 9.9 percent.
Farmers, however, say they often have little luck recruiting Georgia residents to work in their fields because it is temporary, hot and physically demanding. To recruit more workers, some farmers are offering signing bonuses, Hall said.
The law doesn’t take effect until July 1 but is already making migrant Hispanic farmworkers skittish, said Dick Minor, a partner with Minor Brothers Farm in Leslie in southwest Georgia who says he is missing about 50 of his workers now, threatening as much as a third of his crops.
What, us worry?
The author of Georgia’s HB 87 — Republican Rep. Matt Ramsey of Peachtree City — repeated Thursday that the law is not set to take effect until July 1.Unless you happen to be Hispanic or have a Spanish surname or got a deep tan from the sun….
“And there is nothing in House Bill 87 that anybody that is in our country legally has to worry about,” he said.
Then you get an opportunity to be considered for a vacation in ICE’s prison in Georgia, which is run by CCA. The same company that wants to build a private prison in Lowndes County. Spend that tax money on education instead.