Friday, July 1, 2011

Daniel Altschuler: A Day Without Immigrants: Georgia's Anti-Immigration Law

Daniel Altschuler: A Day Without Immigrants: Georgia's Anti-Immigration Law

This week, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against the most controversial sections of HB 87, but the law is already having an impact: the economic devastation caused by scaring away immigrants. Georgia is an agricultural heartland, producing peaches, Vidalia onions, berries, and a host of other produce--all of which need human hands to pick. In recent decades, native-born Americans have turned their backs on such daunting, seasonal, outdoor work; immigrant laborers have picked up the slack. But now these workers are fleeing Georgia, leaving the state with an estimated 11,000-worker shortfall. The estimated price tag for farmers' lost production: approximately $300 million.



Farmers and other business leaders warned Governor Nathan Deal and state legislators about this likely outcome. But Deal and company refused to listen, instead heeding dubious estimates by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a restrictionist organization deemed a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its ties to eugenicists and white separatists.

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