Friday, June 24, 2011

Georgia Reaps Benefits of Immigration Reform

If you are among those who believes that we need to round up all the illegal immigrants and send them packing; then you might consider moving to Georgia. 
The Georgia state legislature recently passed a stiff immigration reform law that allows police greater latitude to check immigration status and imposes stiff penalties on growers who hire illegal workers.  Penalties include a 15 year prison term and fines up to $250,000.
Several news outlets are reporting that the state is already reaping the benefits of this legislation.  In previous years itinerant workers, many of them illegal immigrants, would flock to Georgia at the beginning of the harvesting season. 
This year… not so much. 
Growers estimate that the pool of workers flowing into Georgia is down roughly 50% from previous years.  They say that they are 11,000 workers short of the number needed to harvest their fields; leaving the states' $1.1 billion dollar fruit and vegetable crop to rot on the vine.
Oddly, Georgians who enthusiastically supported the legislation, many of whom are unemployed, are not flocking to the fields to scoop up the back breaking $7.25/hour jobs.
Immigration reform…be careful what you wish for.

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