Ga’s farm-labor crisis playing out as planned

NOTE: This post includes substantial material published earlier on this blog. It is published here as the electronic version of today’s AJC column.

After enacting House Bill 87, a law designed to drive illegal immigrants out of Georgia, state officials appear shocked to discover that HB 87 is, well, driving a lot of illegal immigrants out of Georgia.

It might be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

Thanks to the resulting labor shortage, Georgia farmers have been forced to leave millions of dollars’ worth of blueberries, onions, melons and other crops unharvested and rotting in the fields. It has also put state officials into something of a panic at the damage they’ve done to Georgia’s largest industry.

Barely a month ago, you might recall, Gov. Nathan Deal welcomed the TV cameras into his office as he proudly signed HB 87 into law. Two weeks later, with farmers howling, a scrambling Deal ordered a hasty investigation into the impact of the law he had just signed, as if all this had come as quite a surprise to him.

The results of that investigation have now been released. According to survey of 230 Georgia farmers conducted by Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, farmers expect to need more than 11,000 workers at some point over the rest of the season, a number that probably underestimates the real need, since not every farmer in the state responded to the survey.

In response, Deal proposes that farmers try to hire the 2,000 unemployed criminal probationers estimated to live in southwest Georgia. Somehow, I suspect that would not be a partnership made in heaven for either party.

As an editorial in the Valdosta Daily Times notes, “Maybe this should have been prepared for, with farmers’ input. Maybe the state should have discussed the ramifications with those directly affected. Maybe the immigration issue is not as easy as ’send them home,’ but is a far more complex one in that maybe Georgia needs them, relies on them, and cannot successfully support the state’s No. 1 economic engine without them.”

According to the survey, more than 6,300 of the unclaimed jobs pay an hourly wage of just $7.25 to $8.99, or an average of roughly $8 an hour. Over a 40-hour work week in the South Georgia sun, that’s $320 a week, before taxes, although most workers probably put in considerably longer hours. Another 3,200 jobs pay $9 to $11 an hour. And while our agriculture commissioner has been quoted as saying Georgia farms provide “$12, $13, $14, $16, $18-an-hour jobs,” the survey reported just 169 openings out of more than 11,000 that pay $16 or more.

In addition, few of the jobs include benefits — only 7.7 percent offer health insurance, and barely a third are even covered by workers compensation. And the truth is that even if all 2,000 probationers in the region agreed to work at those rates and stuck it out — a highly unlikely event, to put it mildly — it wouldn’t fix the problem.

Given all that, Deal’s pledge to find “viable and law-abiding solutions” to the problem that he helped create seems naively far-fetched. Again, if such solutions existed, they should have been put in place before the bill ever became law, because this impact was entirely predictable and in fact intended.

It’s hard to envision a way out of this. Georgia farmers could try to solve the manpower shortage by offering higher wages, but that would create an entirely different set of problems. If they raise wages by a third to a half, which is probably what it would take, they would drive up their operating costs and put themselves at a severe price disadvantage against competitors in states without such tough immigration laws. That’s one of the major disadvantages of trying to implement immigration reform state by state, rather than all at once.

The pain this is causing is real. People are going to lose their crops, and in some cases their farms. The small-town businesses that supply those farms with goods and services are going to suffer as well. For economically embattled rural Georgia, this could be a major blow.

In fact, with a federal court challenge filed last week, you have to wonder whether state officials aren’t secretly hoping to be rescued from this mess by the intervention of a judge. But given how the Georgia law is drafted and how the Supreme Court ruled in a recent case out of Arizona, I don’t think that’s likely.

We’re going to reap what we have sown, even if the farmers can’t.

116 comments Add your comment

Lord Help Us

June 17th, 2011
8:25 am

The Gov may have bigger issues still given some other issues. Clue to the Gov…when you fire and/or reduce the pay of someone that is investigating you, people may ask questions…

Moderate Line

June 17th, 2011
8:41 am

Passing law will perhaps force the issue to be address. The argument that we need illegal migrants for this work is false. The employers only hire illegal immigrants because they are cheaper. They are also more likely to be abused.

At one time the left would be for workers rights to protect wages and protect against abuse but now they are more concerned about trying to get Latino votes than protecting worker rights.

Also note making them citizens doesn’t help because they Latino unemployment is higher running currently at 11.9%.

Mighty Righty

June 17th, 2011
8:42 am

“Thanks to the resulting labor shortage, Georgia farmers have been forced to leave millions of dollars’ worth of blueberries, onions, melons and other crops unharvested and rotting in the fields. It has also put state officials into something of a panic at the damage they’ve done to Georgia’s largest industry.”

Not intended to be a factual statement.


June 17th, 2011
9:02 am

Mighty, you’re just wrong. The problems farmers are facing right now will show up in your grocery store very soon. Here in southern GA, watermelons, tomatoes, and other crops are literally baking in the 100 degree heat without the necessary help to harvest these crops. I shouldn’t feel too sorry for the farmers or you because you asked for this, but this law will affect all of us in GA in a very negative way. Open your wallet, dude, cause food is about to get very expensive.

Diane Smith

June 17th, 2011
9:54 am

No crops to be picked in Dalton, GA where illegal aliens have displaced the American workers. Americans who are not bilingual in Spanish are not considered for jobs. Use the probationers and prison trustee labor to pick your crops.

[...] in lawsuits to stop immigration enforcement in Georgia, one of my favorite sources of amusement are smug, leftist columnists who wail in anguish that we must continue to employ illegal aliens because Americans and legal [...]

Bob Andrews

June 17th, 2011
10:07 am

I feel for Georgia’s Farmers, however there are procedures to get TEMPORARY work Visas.


June 17th, 2011
10:16 am

It does seem a bit ridiculous that in order to actually implement the principle of no illegal workers, we destroy our crop producing capabilities. This has gone on for so long that apparently we have no choice now but to leave it alone to get worse, or do something like this and make things worse in another way.

That said, a more responsible solution is in order here.

American worker who can read

June 17th, 2011
10:28 am

There is an excellent rebuttal to this nonsense in today’s Marietta Daiuly Journal–King–Pro-law-Americans-turning-tide-on-immigration?instance=special _coverage_right_column

American worker who can read

June 17th, 2011
10:34 am

conjuring up the decades-old, alarmist, boogey-man of a “$4 apple” — like the equally absurd “$10 head of lettuce” — as a talking point in favor of another amnesty is fruitless.

According to Philip Martin, a professor of agricultural and resource economics at the University of California-Davis, the labor cost in a head of lettuce is less than 10 percent. We could (and probably should) double the wages of legal “lettuce labor” and not significantly increase the retail price. Same for apples and onions, too.

joe farmer

June 17th, 2011
10:47 am

After all the small frams go out of business, deal and his cronies will buy farmland at very good price.

joe farmer

June 17th, 2011
10:52 am

We hire mexicans because they are good, hardworking, honest people unlike the durg addicted highshool dropout you propose I hire instead.


June 17th, 2011
12:14 pm

This reply is also a repost. The bill was intended to make illegal immigrants leave GA. It is working AS INTENDED. The labor shortage is a side effect. Do you take any RX or non RX drugs? There are side effects to everything, you still take the medicine,don’t you? In the long run, you do what is best for GA citizens.

Robert C.

June 17th, 2011
4:21 pm

Well, joe farmer, you can hire all the good, hardworking, honest foreign laborers you want for temporary agricultural work–LEGALLY–and you know it! The Federal program that allows you to do that is the H2A Visa; a numerically uncapped, NON-IMMIGRANT, temporary agricultrual worker program. Here’s a link so that others can see what joe farmer and the author of this idiotic article don’t want you to know: lying from farmers, so-called journalists, and mush brained leftists. The reason joe farmer hires illegal aliens is because he is dishonest and has been allowed to foist the social services of his slave-labor work force on the rest of us for far too long, now. Or is there some other reason you don’t use the H2A Visa program, joe?

The Quadfather

June 18th, 2011
11:25 am

Go down the welfare rolls. Pick the ones that are not working at all, and send them a work subpoena. If they refuse to show up and work, stop the deposits on their EBT cards. I remember the lines outside the welfare office before EBT was inplemented. They could stand in the hot sun all day for a free check, but somehow they can’t get a job? I wish I had taken a picture of it.


June 19th, 2011
3:04 pm

Mexican immigrants are the hardest-working agricultural workers in the world, bar none. It will take more than twice as many probationers to bring in the same amount of crops — if they show up. Deal done screwed up, big time.

independent thinker

June 19th, 2011
11:56 pm

you want to have three or four illegitimate children with three or four different fathers and get the government to pay for food housing, your car, your cell phome and big screen TV??? go pick fruit and vegetables to qualify and the state will pick up your childcare bill. Otherwise go to the back of the line.


June 20th, 2011
1:24 pm

Go JOE FARMER! My landscape company does this for the same reasons. Amen! The only people that do not understand this are the ones so far removed from the reality of it. I actually believe these people mean well, but just really have no idea the reality of the situation. I just read someone claiming that they hoped people like me would be run out of business after getting rich off of “slave labor”. The condemned my “obscene profits”. I make a comfortable living and my husband works 60-80 hours a week to make that happen. I am not getting fat off of slave labor, just getting a small, portioned piece of the American Pie! After this July, I will probably be out of business and have no idea what we will do.

A Criminal Probationer

June 20th, 2011
2:20 pm

We will die under the sun. There is no way. We have been watching TV and getting great meals at the cost of GA taxpayers. Let those farmers lose their crops.

Morning Links | The Agitator

June 21st, 2011
7:44 am

[...] lawmakers show their contempt for illegal immigrants, cripple the state’s agriculture sector in the process. Enjoy your “day without a Mexican”, [...]


June 21st, 2011
8:00 am

This is called a market adjustment. The farmers have been enjoying labor below the actual value of the labor and they’re going to have to adjust. The produce prices will increase eventually, but the problem here isn’t that the immigrants are doing labor “no American will do”, the problem is that no American’s want to do that labor for the wages being offered.


June 21st, 2011
9:45 am

Robert C.
I fail to see your point in mentioning Social Services for Illegal Immigrants in relation to the H2A visas.
Either you and I are going to pay more for food as the farmers pass their costs on when they use the H2A visa program or you and I are going to pay more taxes for Social Services when they hire illegally. Either way you and I will pay. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

[...] a passing a hugely successful bill to exclude illegal immigrants from the state, politicians are astounded to find that actions do have [...]


June 21st, 2011
11:02 am

Speaking from Arizona, we’ve not only seen an exodus of illegals from recent legislation but from lack of jobs. They are self-deporting. In better times this would have had a severe impact but the fact is that if you have an $8 job for somebody here it’s filled in 24 hours no matter what kind of work it is. Cost of living is probably a lot cheaper here though. People are still tough too.

Chris Lindsay

June 21st, 2011
11:12 am

Those who are saying that the farmers need to suck it up and pay more for their labor should probably realize that the solution will not be that they will pay more for food (although it should be), but rather the government will probably start giving subsidies and tax breaks to farmers to off-set the increased labor prices?

So it’s still a lose-lose situation for the consumer, but with the government’s involvement, it’ll mean more bureaucracy?

[...] things, makes using fake identification to get a job punishable by up to 15-years in prison, and here are the results: Thanks to the resulting labor shortage, Georgia farmers have been forced to leave millions of [...]


June 21st, 2011
6:17 pm

Just goes to show you how stupid Republicans are and how stupid the people are who vote for them. I bet an awful lot of those farmers voted for these fools. I say they get what they deserve; I hope their crops rot.

Marvin Chapman

June 21st, 2011
6:49 pm

Where are all the high school students who used to do this labor. Or have they all gone to the mall to hang out.


June 21st, 2011
6:56 pm

I have an idea: what if we took the money we spend on war and bailing out Wall Street, and used it to pay human beings enough to live on instead? Mr. Buffet and Mr. Gates, may we have our money back now?


June 21st, 2011
7:33 pm

What are you babbling about, jana? Bill Gates doesn’t have anything to do with any of our wars or the Wall Street bailout. He hasn’t stolen your money or mine or anyone elses, and he’s done more though his charity organization than you or anyone else reading this ever will.

poor richard

June 21st, 2011
8:10 pm

Any business that decides to conduct their business illegally will suffer. The farmers decided to hire illegal aliens instead of using the LEGAL H2A Visa program, that has worked for many many people for many many years. Now they will either have to conduct their business legally or pay the consequences.

[...] Bookman provides some unsurprising news about Georgia’s illegal immigration crackdown: there are unintended, [...]


June 21st, 2011
8:28 pm

It’s hilarious how many of you commentors suggest slavery/forced labor of one type or another as an excellent solution to this labor shortage. You idiotic yankee bigots just shot your own feet off, and this Chicano-loving Texas boy could not be laughing harder. Have fun with all the farmers who have to turn to meth production to keep their families fed; I’m sure you’ll feel sufficiently righteous about it while looking over mile after mile of fallow, wasted acreage, and wondering how you’ll afford all the new prisons to keep them in.

[...] If the purpose of the law was to make undocumented people feel unwelcome, it worked like a charm. It worked so well, in fact, that the nudge, nudge, wink, wink agreement that the agriculture industr… Barely a month ago, you might recall, Gov. Nathan Deal welcomed the TV cameras into his office as [...]

[...] Farms in Georgia stuck with fruit rotting on the vine as new law sends illegal immigrants out of the state From Jay Bookman at [...]

Judas Gutenberg

June 22nd, 2011
12:24 pm

Sorry, nose, but you gotta go! Because we really don’t like that face you’re attached to!

Adel Antado

June 22nd, 2011
12:40 pm

Arrest the illegals, then force them into the fields to pick the crops. Its an old southern tradition.

Bill in Tennessee

June 22nd, 2011
12:51 pm

If it would mean all illegals “self-deporting” due to lack of work, I wouldn’t mind seeing crops not picked (and the resulting higher prices at the store) here in Tennessee too. Too many of the illegals here have brought with them their social pathologies, such that on any given weekend we can read about yet another murder one has committed, or DUI accidents, a knifing here, a shooting there… PLEASE, all of you, just get out of our state and go back to whatever mud-puddle town you came from, and take your drunken ways and your many, many children with you. I’ll PAY the extra for food if it means getting rid of your sorry asses.

[...] Bookman provides some unsurprising news about Georgia’s illegal immigration crackdown: there are unintended, [...]

You Get What You Vote For

June 22nd, 2011
1:04 pm

Georgia deserves to see their economy tank due to their ignorance and hatred of mankind. It’s that simple. If the legal immigration standards today were applied to the 1800s, America would have never have grown into the great nation that it is. We have always needed immigrants and we always will. Who were your forefathers? Where did they come from? If they were judged by the standards you’re trying to use today would you be here?

My grandparents came to America when they were persecuted HERE by people just like those who support bills like this. They were Italian, Polish and Irish. All of these groups were considered dirty, disgusting, lazy people at the time. Just like you think ‘Mexicans’ are. All were denied jobs, denied the ability to rent housing, denied their humility. It was the American government that created a level playing ground for them to show their worth – not the ‘free market capitalists’ and not the ignorant jerks who you have voted for in office today. My grandparents would be turning in their grave to know that you have yet again risen up and have begun stomping your ignorance all over this great country. You’re despicable. And seriously, I hope your economy tanks. You get what you vote for.

Bill in Tennessee

June 22nd, 2011
1:13 pm

To “You get what you vote for” above: I bet your grandparents came here legally, didn’t they? Learned the language, accepted the customs, followed the rules, paid taxes, became upwardly mobile and bequeathed something to their children, and probably contributed to society at large. Eh? I’m just guessing here, but I GUESS that’s what happened. And I will also bet they brought something to work with, such as a skill or perhaps a college degree, maybe even the ability to create wealth in the New World. You know, something that America is known for. It’s not that people hate Mexicans, it’s that for the most part they are here illegally, bring social pathologies with them, refuse to learn the language, create their own little portable ghettos wherever they go, and loath America as much as any Marxist ever did. One of my best friends is a former Canadian who came here, became naturalized, swore an oath, and became truly American. Do you see the difference “You get…”, or are you so addled by your own smug pomposity and love for all that letting barbarians in the gate really doesn’t matter to you?


June 22nd, 2011
1:16 pm

The problem with hiring typical americans to do this work is that they are not in physical shape to do it. After a few hours or days they will develop injuries and be unable to work.

[...] Ga’s farm-labor crisis playing out as planned [...]


June 22nd, 2011
1:40 pm

@American worker who can read: You say the labor cost in a head of lettuce is 10% and propose doubling the wage of the person who picks it. Problem is, farming is a low-margin business. A farmer is doing well if his margin is 5%. Using your figure, if you double his labor costs he’s suddenly losing 5%. Sure, he could jack up his prices, but his customers could also buy lettuce from Florida and the Carolinas instead (in which case he’d be losing 100%).

So you’re right, while food prices might go up in the short term while this all gets sorted out, long-term prices would probably not be affected much by doubling the cost of labor. That doesn’t mean Georgia’s agricultural sector won’t be destroyed by ever-so-slightly cheaper produce from neighboring states that turns farmers’ small positive margins into small negative ones — permanently. After all, the markets really couldn’t care less where their lettuce comes from if they can save 10 cents a head.

Jeff B

June 22nd, 2011
1:58 pm

This is redistribution of wealth. When all of the family owned farms have been bankrupted and absorbed by large corporate farms, you will see this law overturned. This is not a singularity. This is not unique to Georgia this year. This is a machine that destroys Americans to feed its sociopathic world-headquarters.


June 22nd, 2011
2:12 pm

but the repubs are always right… right?

Just Another Idiot

June 22nd, 2011
2:17 pm

Easy. Send the politicians in to pick the crops. Problem solved, and they’ll finally be doing something productive for once in their lives.

[...] News out of Georgia (well, it’s not really news because everyone knew it would happen) is that the state, which just passed an enforcement-only bill, is losing millions of dollars from crops rotting in the fields where illegal immigrants used to work. Now state officials are scrambling to save Georgia’s “number one economic engine.” American citizens may very well lose their livelihoods. [...]


June 22nd, 2011
2:53 pm

The voters of Georgia have gotten what they deserved for listening to extremist Republicans.

Y’all voted in the most extremist nutjobs you could find, and they went and instead of pretending to talk about doing those dumb things, they went right out and actually did them. Hope it hurts like hell, guys. You deserve every bit of it. Next time try using your brains when you vote.


June 22nd, 2011
2:54 pm

These are the very consequences Utah is trying to avoid with its reality-based approach. The reality is this is a very complex issue thanks to federal government incompetence. Human beings of all stripes are deeply affected by policy, for good or ill.

[...] Clowns: [...]


June 22nd, 2011
3:21 pm

Mexicans work harder than Americans. It’s a fact. I would far rather have illegal Mexicans for neighbors than legal American spoiled little rich kids.

I am a free man and I would move to any country in the world, legally or illegally, if I needed to in order to make a better living for my family. People who do that are the kind of people who made this nation great. Whiners did not.


June 22nd, 2011
3:30 pm

I have one thing to say to the people of Georgia: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!

Peter McFackelhacken

June 22nd, 2011
3:33 pm

The sturgeon, mussels, and oystermen of Florida would like to thank the bigoted voters of Georgia for guaranteeing that flows in the Apalachicola River will be safeguarded for the near future, due to short-sighted destruction of the water-intensive agriculture in your state. Perhaps next you can set Atlanta a-blaze for us.



June 22nd, 2011
3:37 pm

Peter: LMAO!! You win the internets!

Nelson Muntz

June 22nd, 2011
3:46 pm

Ha! Ha! Suck it crackers.


June 22nd, 2011
3:49 pm

Ahahahahaha….this is what happens when you vote for Teabilly’s. I have zero sympathy.

[...] from [...]


June 22nd, 2011
4:05 pm

@ American who can read (mostly bad sources) : CIS is known as a biased source; they cherry pick their data, often skew it, and they are not used be reasonable researchers on either aisle because of their poor analysis of data. Reading isn’t just sounding out the words; reading, when done right, involves something called “Critical Thinking.” I’m sure classes are available at your local JC.

Surly Duff

June 22nd, 2011
4:16 pm

In order to receive a visa, even a temporary work visa, the applicant must demonstrate that they do not intend to immigrate to the United States and will return to their country of origin once they season is over and the visa expires. For this they must demonstrate sufficient ties to their country of origin, typically owning property or having sufficient funds in savings. This rules out a significant portion of the people who perform seasonal, agricultural labor. Many of the applicants that have sufficient funds and means to come to the United States willing to work for minimum wages exist only in your mind.

Uppity Yankee

June 22nd, 2011
4:32 pm

I feel ZERO sympathy for these Ga. farmers because they probably voted for these teabilly Republicans that ram thru this law without checking with them force. I can’t wait for the eventually cost (in millions) to the Georgia economy.

And by the way, good luck getting those lazy, video game addicted, ignorant teens off their parent’s couch to fill these jobs. Because they passed up the $7/hour gig at McDonald’s for these jobs the illegals were taking away from them – right?


June 22nd, 2011
4:34 pm

I am holding my sides from laughter. This is classic “no foresight” conservative behavior: they ALWAYS do this. And it’s not like they can say “who coulda known?” The town of Riverside NJ chased out their brazilian immigrants a few years ago, passed the same kind of stupid hostile laws. Well, the law worked and the Brazlians left. Only problem was, the Brazilians were the only thing propping up the local economy, and that was the end of Riverside’s renaissance. They’re back to being poor and unemployed now. No idea how the Brazilians are doing.

[...] Jay Bookman disagrees with this law and has more to say here. [...]

True Patriot

June 22nd, 2011
4:48 pm

Bill@Tennesse: Actually, my ancestors came over, got rid of the people who lived here, bought some people off ships, and then revolted against their government because they didn’t like taxes.

[...] via Ga’s farm-labor crisis playing out as planned | Jay Bookman. [...]

[...] adopted a harsh new immigration law modeled on the law passed last year by Arizona. Now, it seems they’re getting a little lesson in the law of unintended consequences: After enacting House Bill 87, a law designed to drive illegal immigrants out of Georgia, state [...]

[...] Cutting edge Republican policy thinking in action: After enacting House Bill 87, a law designed to drive illegal immigrants out of Georgia, state officials appear shocked to discover that HB 87 is, well, driving a lot of illegal immigrants out of Georgia. [...]

Ted Seeber

June 22nd, 2011
5:35 pm

There’s another option (gasp). Actually two of them.
1. Pay a living wage to unemployed people bussed out from Atlanta. Last I looked GA’s unemployment rate was 9.9%.
2. Force the issue. Pass another law saying anybody taking unemployment payments must spend 20 hours a week working in the fields.


June 22nd, 2011
5:49 pm

A mighty finger-pointing HA-ha to the good Republican farmers of Georgia from a California liberal. As far as whether you can get Americans to work in fields; you can if they are treated decently. Who exactly do you think all those small organic farmers are anyway? The truth is though that it takes months or years to build the flexibility, muscle and endurance to work in the fields long enough to make a living at it. A probationer has generally spent the last few years living in a small box and moving as little as possible.

You reap hate you get dust; it’s that simple. Eat it.

Lane Yarbrough

June 22nd, 2011
6:02 pm

What are the stated benefits that supported this law?

Laws, like speed limit laws, are what I call, irresponsibility laws; they are meant to help out victims against the law-breakers and greatly decrease lawsuits against all entities. A large portion of people still speed and writers of these laws know this; speeding laws are designed to create a safer environment for those who obey the law.

This law however, was meant to cause harm. not protect. If the state believes that money was an issue, then split the difference and design a Farm Workers pay scale with benefits for legal residence. I would be wiling to pay higher prices for these products if the product is worth it, and for me, good employer practices are a part of the net worth.

I find it strange that physical labor has decreased severely in value, many U.S. citizens are not healthy enough to perform these tasks. Our country has always undervalued “culture” in the work force, but not in sports. It’s a fact, some races/cultures are much better at performing certain functions than others; this needs to be recognized and exploited and with these immigrants, the desire to work is the primary difference between them and us.

A Worker Probation Visa could easily be issued with mandatory agreements, such as they must have auto insurance. It may be a stupid idea, but not as stupid as this law. Don’t complain, brainstorm; it works!


June 22nd, 2011
6:02 pm

@Bill in Tennessee

I don’t know who you are describing, but it’s certainly not the Mexican immigrants I know. The ones I’ve lived and worked with come here, work hard, keep their heads down and in two generations their grandchildren are indistinguishable from any other American.

As to previous generations of immigrants coming here with college degrees… are you kidding? Open a history book sometime, maybe you’ll learn something.

[...] Source [...]


June 22nd, 2011
6:49 pm

I hope Georgia sticks to its principles. When its economy tanks it will be a useful object lesson to anyone else considering laws based on ignorance and hate.


June 22nd, 2011
7:17 pm

How much does one man need?


June 22nd, 2011
7:30 pm

Wow. Everybody seem to have missed the part where Georgia farmers told the federal government that very same thing…right up until 1860, when the federal government decided it knew better. Those who fail to learn from history….


June 22nd, 2011
7:57 pm

This is a testament to the GOP strategy of the past few years…find a hot button issue that will divide and thoroughly piss off those who think less critically to gain a few seats here and there, pass legislation to appease constituents, and feign surprise when said legislation creates an entirely different and more serious problem than the fake one it was intended to fix. These stories need to be shared by the “librul” media so that people can see just how crazy the GOP is. We may as well have temperamental 5th graders doing their jobs.


June 22nd, 2011
8:04 pm

Um… if people aren’t applying for your jobs, offer them more money to do it. Isn’t that how capitalism works?


June 22nd, 2011
9:50 pm

What would be the effect if minimum wage laws were eliminated? In theory you could hire people for pennies on the dollar to do the same work and maintain the semblance of following the ‘law’

I am merely against illegal immigration because I emigrated into my country legitimately, and feel illegal immigration spits on my background.


June 22nd, 2011
10:39 pm

Two years ago, I wrote about the reality of what was going to happen to the crops. Of course that was not an issue with the chest-beating apes that stand on top of the mountains all over America screaming at illegal immigrants.

These antagonists just needed a platform. Did not make any difference, what the subject was as long as they could get long-term “play” out of it. They DID! As they were creating havoc across the nation, no one was paying attention to the facts that there are few people who will accept the tortious hardship of bending over and picking crops.

Middle-class and lower class residents are suffering in this country w/o means of being able to pay bills after losing income. The cost of food is extremely difficult to deal with when the cost keeps increasing.

Good luck in being able to survive. For a buck does not cover the increase in the cost-of-living as we see it now.


June 22nd, 2011
10:58 pm


Republicans are really stupid.

William C Wesley

June 23rd, 2011
12:00 am

Remember when in Shindlers List a Nazi official said “this isn’t just good old fashioned Jew hating talk, its now official policy!”? Nazis pandered to the simple minded predudices of the majority, Without an ignorant hate filled public they’d have been out of a job, Trouble is when you serve idiots by giving them what they want you reap the whirlwind they have sown. Its not the governors fault, thats what sells to the simple minded masses in Georgia. if not him then someone else would have sold them the oppression they crave. IN A DEMOCRACY FAILURE IS THE P E O P L E S FAULT. Quit blaming the “leaders”, its lame.

William C Wesley

June 23rd, 2011
12:04 am

…..And by the way if you want to get rid of the illegals pass a law forcing the farmers to pay a living wage, then the illegals won’t be able to get past all the citezens who are applying.


June 23rd, 2011
12:18 am

The racist teabillies wrecked Georgia, and they will wreck the whole country if they get their way.


June 23rd, 2011
12:30 am

The bottom line is that farmers will be forced to increase wages so that American citizens will take these jobs. Farmers will no longer be able to undercut the entire labor market. Will this cause food prices to rise, yes — however the cost is less than what we have been paying in taxes to support the education and medical care for illegal immigrants that is a huge social burden.

Tom Paine

June 23rd, 2011
1:06 am

No, no, no, no, no! We will get rid of the bad lazy no-speak-English brown people and then the good white people or the non-uppity negroes can get good jobs picking berries and vegetables in the hot sun for minimum wage and we can all shoot abortion doctors holding hands and singing praise to Jesus! Why don’t people understand that this is what should be??!


June 23rd, 2011
1:34 am

Can’t they force white teenagers and retirees to go into the fields?
Or must the GOP continue to ensure our economy tank even further before whites considers $7.45 a fair wage?

One of the liberals you're all so scared of

June 23rd, 2011
1:41 am

Doc: Like you I took a look at the Marietta Daily Journal article cited by American Worker Who Can Read (but not spell). All you need to know about the article’s honesty is its reference to “the respected Center for Immigration Studies in Washington…”

As you note, the CIS is neither respected nor impartial. It is one of many astroturf outfits founded by the noted bigot, John H. Tanton, who still sits on the board. The Southern Poverty Law Center has this to say about the CIS:

“Although the think tank bills itself as an “independent” organization with a “pro-immigrant” if “low-immigration” vision, the reality is that CIS has never found any aspect of immigration that it liked.

There’s a reason for that. Although you’d never know it to read its materials, CIS was started in 1985 by a Michigan ophthalmologist named John Tanton — a man known for his racist statements about Latinos, his decades-long flirtation with white nationalists and Holocaust deniers, and his publication of ugly racist materials…”

But don’t take the SPLC’s word for it. Go take a look at Tanton’s quarterly rag, “The Social Contract”, (which he operates with Wayne Lutton, a confirmed white supremacist, as associate editor) and have a look for yourself.

Just to round things out, the ADL has this to say about Lutton and Tanton:

“Lutton is a long-time anti-immigrant figure and a veteran member of the John Tanton network, a far-reaching web of xenophobic activists and organizations that has managed to earn a place in the mainstream debate about immigration into the United States. (Lutton is the Editor of The Social Contract, a xenophobic journal published by John Tanton, widely considered the architect of the modern anti-immigrant movement.)”

Funny, but it just seems like whenever wingnuts start talking about “non-partisan” sources and “impartial research” from “respected think tanks” bearing on the immigration debate, there’s usually just a plain old racist at the bottom of it.


June 23rd, 2011
4:10 am

Interesting to read all of the comments here suggesting that the solution to this problem is basically to bring back slavery. Guess some things never change.

So here’s the thing: farm work is physically difficult, labor intensive work that requires long hours out under the hot sun. That’s why most people don’t like it. So it only makes sense that farmers should have to pay more to get people to do that instead of, say, sitting on your behind in an air-conditioned call center for eight hours.

Yes, this law is doing exactly what it’s supposed to: shrinking the labor pool and lifting wages by kicking out the people here illegally who were willing to work for below-market rates. Of course management is squawking. They’re going to have to start competing just a little bit for labor now, which means marginally better wages, benefits and working conditions. That’s the whole freaking point.

Me, I really love those Vidalia onions when they come into season. And I’ll love them just as much if I have to pay $1.80 a pound instead of the $0.89 a pound that they’re selling for in Colorado right now. More perhaps, if I know that the people who are raising them and bringing them out of the fields and sending them on their way to me are being treated well.

Richard Bagge

June 23rd, 2011
4:36 am

Out of curiosity, are any of you anti-illegal parrots really aware of the actual costs at work here? Gblive, you suggest that the presence of illegals in society creates a burden that you are paying with taxes. How much? If you genuinely believe that removing every illegal from the system is going to adjust your own tax burden by more than about, I don’t know, A PENNY, you’re very mistaken. How is that supposed to work, anyway? If cops are arresting fewer illegals, then the government doesn’t need to pay as many cops, so your county commission will approve a smaller police budget and lower your property tax in 2012? I know that Rush and Boortz told you to say that, but it just does not work that way.

What you might see, however, in the short term, are genuinely higher prices on food, until grocery stores source food from farther away, which is less fresh. When that happens, and Georgia farmers are cut out of the loop because they cannot compete with farms in Florida and South Carolina, prices will return to normal, except now you’ve got Georgia farms shut down.

As for the notion of busing the unemployed to work in the fields, I really thought right-wingers wanted LESS government interference, except now I see that what you really want is a more powerful police state forcing unemployed Americans to toil in fields for about the minimum wage. Lovely.

Are you even aware of where the farms in question you’re talking about are? This is happening four or more hours away from Atlanta. You want to tell me how to get to Albany, Camilla or Bainbridge in less time? Oh, I suppose we could shack these unemployed, lazy Atlantans in some sort of barbed wire camp or something. Heaven knows at seven bucks an hour, you can’t afford a Hyatt.

Bottom line: people come here illegally because they WANT TO WORK at what, from our perspective, is a criminally low wage because even that pathetic rate is far better than their chances of earning in their home country. They could wait for YEARS to enter this country legally, but they left their homes in Guatamala, El Salvador or Mexico because they were desperate NOW. They pay the same sales taxes that you do, so drop the laughable claim that they’re not part of the system. They’re working jobs that you will not, because our farmers are willing to pay them about nine times what they could earn back home if there was ANY work. At least they were.

Finally, Republicans, ask yourself this: if you were unemployed and desperate, and please start from THAT premise, if you were genuinely desperate, and there was a nation on this earth that was offering wages nine times greater than what you could have expected to earn anyway, and that nation was also willing to give your children one of the best educations on the planet, would you wait here in poverty and desperation for government bureaucrats to spend YEARS approving an immigration application, or would you get your butt to work and see that your family gets out of poverty? If you had any sense, you’d work your fingers to the bone for wages that high.

Try figuring it out: Illegal immigrants have more sense than Republicans.

tom rad

June 23rd, 2011
7:38 am

How very intelligent, Ga.


June 23rd, 2011
9:49 am

given the large numbers of issues voiced by actual farmers trying to use the H2A program, it would be good to know how effective that program actually is, as it apparently isn’t, and how does improving it, which would mean expanding it (more bureacracy, more interventions into our lives) fit into the mindset of reducing the size of our goverment? Which is it? The more we ask the government to act as our conscience, the larger the government has to be.

prairie dog magazine | dog blog

June 23rd, 2011
10:33 am

[...] state of Georgia recently passed legislation trying to get rid of illegal immigrants. Suddenly, the state`s agriculture industry grinds to a halt, and the states farmers are now seeking help because the illegal immigrants who used to do all the [...]


June 23rd, 2011
10:51 am

When you shut down economic activity you hurt everyone – which is what immigration, undocumented or not, is all about.

[...] state of Georgia recently passed legislation trying to get rid of illegal immigrants. Suddenly, the state`s agriculture industry grinds to a halt, and the states farmers are now seeking help because the illegal immigrants who used to do all the [...]


June 23rd, 2011
10:56 am

perhaps the folks milking unemployment can fill those jobs. I am so sick of hearing help help help, and nobody wants to help themselves. Illegals should be required to become citizens, or leave, regardless, and anyone that is on welfare, or assistance and is capable should be working to fill those jobs.


June 23rd, 2011
11:04 am

oh, man. this has gotta suck for y’all, but what exactly did the folks supporting this bill EXPECT to happen? i can’t help but to laugh a little.

this kind of thing is why i’ve given up on the republican party, not because my political views have changed, but because they’ve completely lost sight of reality.


June 23rd, 2011
11:11 am

Hey teabillies, why don’t you catch yerself a bunch of negroes and put chains on em and make em pick your crops?


June 23rd, 2011
12:10 pm

All the way around, it is a sad state of affairs we are in. But, two wrongs don’t make a right. The government should have done something many years ago about the immigration situation. But their political aspirations got the better of them and they didn’t want to address it and here we are. The only reason that the farmers want the illegals is because they can pay them low wages and they will take it because they only have so many options. If and when they become legal, they won’t accept the low wages and, because they know our system and how to get what they want, they won’t work for the low wages any longer. And why should be condone slave labor, because that is what it is. I would hope that there is a solution to this that will benefit everyone. There are too many people in this country and not enough jobs to go around. Perhaps they could let an unemployed individual who is not working and getting unemployment benefits, do one of these jobs without loosing their benefits since it is a lower paying job to earn additional income. We need to be imaginative and make some changes and move forward. Just ranting will not solve the problem.


June 23rd, 2011
12:16 pm

Back in the depression days people would have done any job they were lucky enough to find. While we are not yet in a depression, we are getting closer by the day without some major changes. We have become a soft a lazy society. We all have obligations and responsibilities and should rise to the occasion. If you don’t have a job and know of people needed workers, why not rise to the occasion and do some good ole hard work. Or do you think you are better than your fellow human being. Maybe the people of GA should view this as a local disaster and gather around to help their neighbor. Maybe become a civil society and rally.