Georgia farmers accuse immigration law of worker shortage
United States, 29th May: Several Georgia farmers are complaining that the Arizona-style immigration law is restricting immigrant workers from coming to Georgia.
Georgia is facing acute shortage of required farm workers for picking up produce in this US state and the blame is being put on the new immigration law of this state.
It’s being alleged by vegetable and fruit farmers that new immigration law for barring undocumented immigrants is scaring migrant workforce.
Georgia Immigration law behind farmers’ woes-- According to a former president of Georgia Fruit and vegetable Growers Association, Bill Brim, a part of his harvest was lost as nearly 70 of his Hispanic laborers did not come back to work this year.
Hence, in such a scenario, Brim, owner of a farm in Tifton, says he is compelled to reduce his production. Brim is not alone. Jason Berry, another farm manager at Georgia, says that out of the total 120 farm workers, around 40 failed to join his farm this year.
This is despite the fact that the farm offered increased remuneration in the form of $25 as weekly bonus along with $50 as signing bonuses for joining the farm work again. No wonder, the farm incurred a loss of 10 percent of its crop.
What is Georgia’s new immigration law—The new law of Georgia named HB 87 is to come into effect from July onwards. It provides authority to police officials to verify status of immigration of detained suspects. And the law also imposes penalty on employers found to be hiring undocumented immigrants.
HB 87 proponents say legal US immigrants have nothing to fear about—Meanwhile, those favoring HB 87 Act say legal immigrants in the US don’t need to fear from this new act in Georgia. The undocumented immigrants will, however, be deterred from entering into the US and thus save Georgia’s public schools , hospitals and other social services from getting unduly strained, the proponents of this act maintain.
HB 87 act could spell huge risk for harvest in Georgia—The ongoing labor shortage in Georgia could mean a big risk for crops worth more than $300 million, maintains the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association. It is being held that the loss could even be greater than this amount and could only be known once the harvesting has been completed for summer crops after July this year.