Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Immigration laws in Ga., Ala. mostly unenforced but farmers say more workers are legal

While lawmakers continue to debate federal immigration reform, which passed the Senate and is expected to die a slow death in the House, state immigration laws passed in 2011 in Georgia and Alabama have had little affect on the number of illegal immigrants in those states, Kate Brumback reports for The Associated Press: "There are still concerns over enforcement and lingering fears among immigrants, but in many ways it appears that people have gone on with life much as it was before the laws were enacted."

"Farmers say many of the foreign workers have returned because the laws are not heavily enforced and it once again seems safe to be here," Brumback reports. There is still concern for safety, which has forced some illegal immigrants to remain in hiding, or stay away from jobs, but "Farmers say they are filling labor shortages not with returning immigrants but with workers hired through a program that grants temporary legal visas." (AP photo: Guest worker Vegelio Sausera harvests onions in a field in Lyons. Ga.)

"Immediately after the laws were passed, farmers in both states complained that foreign workers who lived there had left and that the itinerant migrants who generally came through were staying away," proving that Americans aren't interesting in working farming jobs, Brumback reports. "American workers weren't stepping forward to perform the back-breaking work immigrants had done for years, and crops were rotting in the fields because of a lack of laborers, they said."

Illegal immigrants who feared being arrested or deported began returning to work in Georgia after "courts began blocking significant elements of the law and some loopholes became apparent," while in Alabama, thousands of employers "have been ignoring a provision in the state's immigration law that requires them to register with the federal E-Verify system, a program to electronically verify workers' legal status." (Read more)

1 comment:

Alfredo Lozano said...

This has always been the issue. Laws are passed but the aren't enforced or followed which just creates a chaotic atmosphere. This is why immigration reform is essential. Everyone needs to get on the same page.