Georgia Farm Bureau: immigration is a federal issue

The Georgia Farm Bureau has weighed in on the heated debate over what to do about illegal immigration in the state, saying “it is a federal issue, not a state or local issue.”

Meeting at their annual convention on Jekyll Island Tuesday, delegates to the bureau adopted a policy that says the organization opposes “any immigration law that discriminates against the farm worker and puts the farmers of Georgia at a disadvantage to farmers in other states.”

The policy also says “agricultural interests must be considered when immigration legislation is debated.” Georgia’s $65 billion agricultural industry relies heavily on migrant workers.

“We think immigration is a federal issue, and it needs a federal solution,” Jon Huffmaster, the Farm Bureau’s legislative director told the Associated Press. “And we think a patchwork of state laws could cause more problems than it solves.”

The bureau – which represents nearly 400,000 families — staked out its position as a panel of Republican state lawmakers is studying whether to adopt an Arizona-style crackdown on illegal immigration in Georgia.

“I certainly recognize how important agriculture is to the state of Georgia,” said Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, co-chairman of the Joint House and Senate Study Committee on Immigration Reform. “But I would strongly disagree with any assertion that the state of Georgia doesn’t have a role in addressing the social and economic problems caused by illegal immigration.

“I think it is pretty clear that there is a consensus forming – it is certainly my opinion – that the status quo is absolutely unacceptable. We just can’t continue to wait for the federal government to do something.”

Georgia, meanwhile, is home to more “unauthorized immigrants” than Arizona, according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security report. The report says 480,000 illegal immigrants were living in Georgia as of January of last year, while 460,000 were in Arizona.

20 comments Add your comment

Kelly

December 8th, 2010
6:50 pm

I understand both sides of the argument however; we cannot continue the way we are. Particularly in this economy. Illegal immigrants MUST stop using all resources that are guaranteed to citizens. This includes education, health services, food and even the right to a trial.

Kat

December 8th, 2010
6:57 pm

Lets move them out before they take over! This country has enough poor uneducated criminals. We do not need more. Illegal immigration and the “values” they bring are one of the many contributing factors to what I refer to as the “dumbing down of America.”

Lionel York

December 8th, 2010
6:58 pm

I would certainlly agree that the state of Georgia has to have a role in addressing the social and economic problems caused by illegal immigration.ILLEGAL being the key word. I don’t think that the money the farmers would save on “cheap” labor would offset the cost to Georgia’s taxpayers. If you employ an illegal, that makes you a criminal too!! (federal law).

Mark

December 8th, 2010
7:01 pm

A little extreme, yes. But a valid point nonetheless. We are allowing a large percentage (certainly not all) of illegal immigrants to live off the backs of hard working citizens. All they want, like certain other people, is a handout. This is the land of opportunity NOT entitlement.

FMX

December 8th, 2010
7:24 pm

They are being selfish because they want cheap labor. What the hell are they growing any way. The burden that illegals are putting on our resources is horrible.

Joel Wischkaemper

December 8th, 2010
8:53 pm

I believe almost any knowledgeable person would agree with that premise. It is a lot like saying the Sun rises in the east. Oh whoopee. That organization needs to step up to the plate and tell us how to solve the problem of the illegal aliens, and if they cannot, stay out of the way of work in progress. As it now stands, the illegal aliens are sweeping through the American People like typhoid and the citizens who support the illegal aliens are helping them when they can.

Illegal Aliens are against the law. Stop the invasion and then we turn to deal with what are probably labor issues in Georgia. The folks in Government functions support the American People or leave government. Stop the abuse. Stop the illegal aliens.

amc

December 8th, 2010
9:07 pm

question to all of you who oppose imigration

are you going to work on the field,i bet you can not handle more that 15 minutes?
what job are been taken if no us citizen want it?
want benefits do they get,if you can proved?
cheaper labor keeps companies competitive?
many people dont like to work in clod ,hot o dificul jobs,imigrants work in any job?
companies needs to incrise profits and rewards investors?
farmers would have to incrise prices in order to be profitable and competitive?

Kristina

December 8th, 2010
9:11 pm

Why are you guys so against ILLEGAL immigrants I think everyone should be able to live a life. now I got to ask what if all of you who are against ILLEGAL immigrants were immigrants yourself you would want the same thing these people want. try to imagine yourself in their shoes and how much they got to work to be free and have there side of the story heard. NOT ALL I repeat NOT all immigrants are bad. Understand you all of you wouldnt be saying these things about immigrants if you were in there shoes and they were in your shoes. This is stupid GOD created us to have equal lives and and equal opportunities just because there ILLEGAL doesnt me they deserve less better then you guys. YOU guys think your so big and bad well your not. WHY cant everyone just come to peace and stop THINKING illegal’s should be denied just because there in a different country wanting to have a better life. Your illegal to because your entering other peoples countries and what do they do open there homes and allow you to enter

native

December 8th, 2010
9:48 pm

I say kick out everyone who can’t prove ancestry of 500 years.

More seriously, illegal labor underpins our economy. Undocumented workers take jobs citizens refuse to do, at wages citizens won’t tolerate, and, in the process, support some of the wealthiest and (otherwise) most conservative citizens of our state.

Isn’t life full of irony?

Heather

December 8th, 2010
10:23 pm

How amusing. The Obama administration consider illegal immigration a federal issue only when they go to court to keep someone from enforcing any laws on illegal immigration. Then they totally ignore the issue when it comes to enfocrinc the laws themselves!

Questioning the juristication of who gets to enforce the laws is just Obama’s way of making sure NO ONE enforces the law/.

Welcome to Obama Nation.

And just a comment on this being a federal mattter. They say it is a federal matter to enforce because immigration is part of the constitution. Well isn’t the right to bare arms also part of the constitution? Yet we have individual states enforcing their own gun laws!

You do not see Obama complaining about states overstepping their authority and treading on the federal goverments juristiction on gun laws!

Heather

December 8th, 2010
10:27 pm

The comment that illegal immigrants do jobs Americans won’t do is false. There was a factory near where I live that had illegal immigrant works; it was raided.

The factory then had to hire new works and hundreds, yes hundreds of American citizens lines up to apply.

So, please stop with the comment that illegal immigrants do jobs Americans won’t do. They do construction jobs all the time. Companies that do hire American citizens can not compete agianst the low labor cost of the companies with illegal workers.

Americans will do these jobs, but they can not do them if an illegal immigrant is doing it for 1/2 the salary!

native

December 8th, 2010
10:49 pm

Heather

I did construction work when I was young. At the time I enjoyed it. I concede that point.

Have you ever done farm work? I grew up on a farm.

The point I really hoped to make is that the Georgia Farm Bureau is being hypocritical when it resists immigration restrictions (I agree with them, for a different reason) when they represent a privileged group that would normally take a conventional conservative stance.

To many, interest equals conviction.

Mark

December 8th, 2010
10:50 pm

I find it funny that people for illegals do not understand proper grammar (Kristina). Their is possessive and there refers to that place. Ie Looke over there. Or I want all their resources. Clearly your argument Kristina is invalid on the grounds that you are (not to be confused with your) an idiot.

Mark

December 8th, 2010
10:52 pm

And though I agree with your statements Heather, you use very bad grammar.

A born US citizen

December 9th, 2010
12:17 am

Those of you who want to let illegals in this country, and are willing to house them, feed them, clothe them, educate them, and take care of all there medical needs on your dime! “Well then open the gates”. But don’t ask me to pay for them. My taxes are high enough, and if they know they can break one law then what? Pick and choose the laws they want to obey. Where does it end? I say end it NOW! And while your talking to your god, little “g” ask him to let satan and all his demons into heaven! Because it’s the nice warm feeling thing to do, well the GOD that I serve has “LAWS” and they matter, and let me remind you that we are a country ruled by “LAWS” not by men. “BAM”

Flan

December 9th, 2010
4:14 am

Most people would like to work for what they get. The reason Georgia has so many undocumented laborers is due to there not being enough people willing to do the back breaking work. I say welcome to Georgia if you want to work and raise a family. Remember all of you here have immigrants in your background unless you are Native American!

boduk

December 9th, 2010
8:11 am

For the one who said illegal immigrants are contributing to the dumbing down of American. I think one can argue that Fox News does a great job with dumbing down Americans. Also, saying that illegal immigrants are taking advantage of services that are for citizens like healthcare. They’re many many Americans who don’t have access to decent healthcare.
Fact is, there will have to be some type of compromise like having a guest worker program.

FMX

December 9th, 2010
9:16 am

The problems with illegals is that they are paid cash for their work. Then they march down with their anchor babies and get food stamps and medicaid. Then they put the kid in public schools. This is what has destroyed California. You can’t have hundred of thousands of people working and not paying taxes but yet they take from the system that they don’t support. Then the money they do make they a good chunk back to Mexico. Why not they are eating for free (food stamps) and the children and sometimes that adults get free health care (medicaid). Nothing like a little disposable income.

Our soldiers are supposedly dying for freedoms that we are allowing illegals to just take.

FMX

December 9th, 2010
9:19 am

A big reason the state budget is in such bad shape is because of the impact of illegals. Drive down to Scottish Rite Children’s hospital emergency room and tell me who has it filled to capacity. Remember folks 70% of the state budget goes to education and medicaid.

Romy

December 9th, 2010
10:57 am

I hope you all are okay with paying significantly higher prices for your produce. Because the only way U.S. citizens and even legal immigrants will work on these farms is if they are paid what they think they “deserve” to do such “manual labor”. And I guarantee you it will be a ridiculous amount of money. The farmers will have no choice but to pass those costs along to us.

How does that $5 apple taste? Good? What about that $10 watermelon? Want some peanuts for the ball game — sure, that’d be $15.

Thank you very much.