Farmers get half their way in illegal immigration bills

You’ll remember that last month, delegates to the Georgia Farm Bureau’s annual convention entered the coming debate in the Legislature over illegal immigration.

The farmers approved a resolution to oppose any measure that “discriminates against the farm worker” and puts farmers at a competitive disadvantage.

The resolution may already have had an impact. D.A. King, who is often at the state Capitol urging tougher approaches, pointed out this paragraph from a press release by state Sen. Jack Murphy, R-Cumming, previewing his legislation on the topic:

”Georgia’s agricultural industry, which relies on legal foreign workers for seasonal jobs, already must verify the legal status of workers, per federal regulation. My bill, therefore, excludes agricultural businesses from the E-Verify provision.”

King takes polite issue with the above. “The Ag industry is under no more mandates to verify the eligibility of the workers they hire than is Joe’s Bait Shop in Anywhereville, north Georgia,” he tapped out in an e-mail.

Farmers may think they fare less well under parallel legislation from state Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City. His House legislation is now posted here. We’re told that, in the end, the language making it a crime to “encourage” illegal immigrants to come to Georgia will be dropped. But it is still there.

Farmers are likely to be wary about the passages below. The wording reminds one of the state’s drug laws. Possession of one illegal immigrant would be a misdemeanor. Possession of eight or more would mark you as a dealer:

A person who transports or moves an illegal alien in a motor vehicle, where such person knows or recklessly disregards the fact that such person being transported is an illegal alien, shall be guilty of the offense of transporting or moving an illegal alien.

A person convicted of transporting or moving an illegal alien who moves seven or fewer illegal aliens at the same time shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000.00 or imprisonment not to exceed 12 months, or both. A person convicted of transporting or moving an illegal alien who moves eight or more illegal aliens at the same time shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $5,000.00 or more than $20,000.00 or by imprisonment of not less than one or more than five years, or both.

And this:

A person who conceals, harbors, or shields an illegal alien from detection in any place in this state, including any building or means of transportation, where such person knows or recklessly disregards the fact that such person being concealed, harbored, or shielded is an illegal alien, shall be guilty of the offense of concealing or harboring an illegal alien.

A person convicted of concealing or harboring an illegal alien who conceals or harbors seven or fewer illegal aliens at the same time in the same location shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000.00 or imprisonment not to exceed 12 months, or both. A person convicted of concealing or harboring an illegal alien who conceals or harbors more than seven illegal aliens at the same time in the same location shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $5,000.00 or more than $20,000.00 or by imprisonment of not less than one or more than five years, or both.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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56 comments Add your comment


January 27th, 2011
6:04 pm

Wow. Slavery still exists on Georgia farms. Exploitation of the workers. Tell the Department of Revenue and the IRS who the culprits are and let everyone boycott the farms using illegal…ILLEGAL labor. These guys are cheating the system on taxes. Nothing like good old Americans breaking laws. Can we ship these Americans breaking the laws to Mexico as well?


January 27th, 2011
6:04 pm

I smell hypocrisy here in the dueling bills. “enforce all the laws all the time”….except when it hurts our number one industry…


January 27th, 2011
6:17 pm

So would we arrest every school bus driver in Hall and Whitfield Counties because they transported 8 or more passengers who are likely non-documented?


January 27th, 2011
6:45 pm

Since the farmers want the illegals, I say let them support all the illegals and give teh tax payers a break. Farmers are the biggest cry babies and the largest welfare program there is. go to and check out farm data base.


January 27th, 2011
6:52 pm

Don’t get your hopes up. No one is going to be arrested. It is all theater, as usual.


January 27th, 2011
6:56 pm

King has been pushing for E-Verify for years. Bless him. I hope he is succesful. This senator must think we are as dumb as he is. What arrogance to sell out to the growers and try to make it look like he is really doing something. If the legislature doesn’t do something tis year, get ready to hoist the flag of Mexico and bow to the Chamber of Commerce. And to find new leaders.


January 27th, 2011
7:22 pm

Once again, dumb-ass Republicans sending a signal to anyone other than white, u R not welcomed. Hispanics, with a conservative culture, run away.


January 27th, 2011
7:28 pm

What Ramsey is proposing is ethnic cleansing. He knows that the law will be practically impossible to enforce. It is designed to scare the bejesus out of illegal immigrants and their families so that they will leave Georgia. Considering the sorry state of Arizona’s finances I don’t think that it is going to do anything to help Georgia. It will, however garner the kind of votes for Ramsey and Murphy that Jan Brewer needed to get elected.


January 27th, 2011
7:36 pm

Enter your comments here


January 27th, 2011
7:49 pm

You just mentioned every Apt. complex in Dekalb county,good,I like this,

Home School Drop Out

January 27th, 2011
7:50 pm

I was on Church Street in Marietta, Georgia today.
I observed two Latinos using a concrete saw.
With Out Eye or Hearing PROTECTION.
OSHA would shut me down for these VIOLATIONS.


There is a sickness in GA

January 27th, 2011
7:51 pm

How would this affect MARTA, do they now need to check the citizenship of every rider. What about transportation companies that rent cars, buses, etc; do they now need to verify that only legal residents ride in their vehicles? Under these new regulations do landlords now need to identify the resident status of every person they rent to? There are real reasons the federal government hasn’t tackled comprehensive immigration reform, one of which is that it is hugely complicated, another is its cost (contrary to popular wisdom on these boards it has been clearly show that these immigrants add more money to the economies in which they reside than they cost (money collected in sales tax, noncollectable paycheck contributions to SS, low cost labor, etc.). The smart move for GA would be to wait and see how AZ and other similar laws stand up to court challenges and move from there, but of course that won’t happen.

There is a sickness in GA

January 27th, 2011
7:58 pm

@ Home School Drop Out What is the point you are trying to make? If OSHA caught those to gentlemen’s employer why would they react differently than if they caught you. Also, how do you know those to Latinos are not legal residents?

Martin Williams

January 27th, 2011
8:00 pm

With all this going and we talking about government spending and deficits. We are so stupid and brain washed by the politicians that and especially in the South, that we believe everything they tell us. Farmers are not just the biggest cry babies but they get a lot freebies from the our Federal government and we talk about spending.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jim Galloway and Avani Services, Avani Services. Avani Services said: Avani #immigration: Farmers get half their way in illegal immigration bills – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]


January 27th, 2011
8:43 pm

Carpet is not a farm product, but Dalton has the highest concentration of illegal aliens in the state. The vast majority of illegal aliens living in Georgia have no affiliation with agriculture, and the politicians know it, yet they would have you believe the state’s entire economy would collapse if you deprive the farmers of their cheap, fugutive labor. Unlike Gainesville, the town with the second highest concentration, Dalton doesn’t have Lake Lanier, the most crooked governor in the state’s history,or the close proximity to Metropolitian Atlanta to save it from the abyss. To the lobbiest-controlled, self-serving politicians, Dalton is just considered collateral damage.


January 27th, 2011
9:50 pm

If you’re going to exempt farmers from complying with the law then you have to exempt everyone.

And here’s a crazy idea: maybe Georgia’s >10% unemployment rate could be shaved if we replaced the illegal ag workers and carpet makers with actual AMERICAN CITIZENS. Yes many Americans will do those jobs contrary to what the Chamber of Commerce would have you believe.

Joe Farmer

January 27th, 2011
10:04 pm

Jim, the Georgia Farm Bureau annual meeting was held at Jekyll Island, not Lyons. The byline on the story you linked is incorrect. It’s called fact-checking. Also, Georgia Farm Bureau has never supported illegal immigrant workers. They’ve simply said they want agriculture considered when immigration laws are being drawn up. All Georgia’s farmers want is a reliable, legal work force.

For CORRECT information regarding this issue, you can simply visit the GFB website…


January 27th, 2011
10:23 pm

Employers are already required to verify status of immigrant laborers. Some employers do a better job than others, and farmers are no exception. The fact of the matter is, Americans won’t do the farm work the immigrant laborers are being hired to do, whether it’s landscaping work in Paulding County or digging onions in Toombs County, working in chicken houses in Gainesville or running carpet extruders in Dalton. I know the ones here illegally create drains on public services. This is not in dispute. But this doesn’t happen in a vacuum; if the state takes a hard-line stance on immigration, the migrant workers, legitimate and otherwise, will be fearful of coming here. In theory, this leaves more jobs available for U.S. citizens, right? Great! But remember, America’s standard of living has risen to the point that American workers won’t accept “menial” jobs, those that aren’t in cushy air-conditioned offices. The unacknowledged side effects: Either dramatically increased food prices or a diminished food supply. Adverse affects on an already struggling economy. You want those things, go ahead and support stricter immigration laws. Just do it with information about all sides of the issue.

ga female

January 27th, 2011
10:29 pm

Well then maybe the Good Olde Boys with Traton Homes could be caught for harboring over 8 illegals building their partical board houses that start falling apart in less than a year. Traton and the illegals they employ have brought down the value of homes in Smyrna by almost 50%. No one who uses legal labor can compete. But now the fools who bought these inferior homes built of partical board with illegals are starting to cry their eyes out because all they have bought is a cardboard box or the equivalent of a third world shack. That is what you get when you want to pay for third world labor, third world quality, that falls apart. Not union made, US made quality. Builders like Traton and Turner Constructon who knowingly use illegals need to be fined at least $40,000 per illegal and serve 10 years in jail for each offense then maybe they wouldn’t do it. They also need to stop blaming the subs, because they all know what the real labor and benefit costs are.


January 27th, 2011
11:01 pm

I’m sure all you folks screaming about following all the laws all the time, have never exceeded the speed limit, never fudged their income tax returns, and always come to a full stop at all stop signs.

This fixation on illegal immigration is absolute madness. If economics are causing people to hire migrant farm labor from Mexico, CHANGE THE LAWS TO MAKE IT LEGAL. What ever happend to the free market?


January 27th, 2011
11:09 pm

Hey you redneck, jerk wad Teabeggers, no need to worry/, Illegals stopped coming to your sorry, pathetic state long ago. Why would anyone look for work in a state with 10 per cent unemployment and a broke, bankrupt bloke who is gubner? You idiots think way too much of yourselves. Your state has become useless and irrelevant. GET OVER YOURSELVES!!!

Alabama Communist

January 27th, 2011
11:52 pm

Don’t you just love it, when Republicans claim that out of work Americans will work cheaper than the present farm workers,,,,,,,,,,,


January 28th, 2011
12:22 am

This is sad for me. I stayed at my Grandmothers for a while when I was young. My Uncle farmed. I learned to know lots of people in the area and they were as honest as the day was long. I hope the corruption that is rampant in the government and many businesses hasn’t spilled over to them.

Maybe that is one of the real shames of what is happening. The criminal activity of the government forces honest people into crime in order to compete.


January 28th, 2011
12:30 am

Sounds like majority of folks get their facts from Fox News around here.

I think let it all your dreams come true and then when it affects us individually and it blows back in our faces. We will be begging for help, just like we brought in all this labor to rebuild New Orleans and a bunch of other American cities.

There is a reason why our economy went down the toilet. Just like these banks were trying to squeeze blood out of turnips, instead of trying to work with American families getting back on their feet, they foreclosed on all these homes, now they cry that they have all these vacant home without buyers which sit without maintenance drive some neighborhoods values down, people take the plumbing, copper and whatever they can find. If they would have worked with these families, reworked the loans, allowed some deferrements and then add it back on the end of the loan, what would it be to give a family a year?? they would have not lost any money because they would have just extended the loans, no family wants to be on the street but yet the greed of the banks forced them out, so now they are stuck with way more houses but of course they got bail outs while these families are suffering. This doesn’t make any sense, they should have let all these banks fail.

This will happen with this too, as much as you hate illegal immigrants however all of you benefit of them and their labor, because if more salaries and benefits would have to be paid, YOUR cost of living would go up as well. Chicken may cost as much as steak, produce would be a luxury and yes a lot of business would lose a lot of money, all the rent that is paid, food, sales tax, even the wires to Mexico Western Union charges a pretty penny, cashing checks, and so on. So be wary of what you wish for because we may pay the ultimate price. How is the saying “For the greater good”?

Fire Eater

January 28th, 2011
4:17 am

15 million unemployed in America; 30 million illegal aliens present: do the math.

Agribusiness is not above the law…if they use illegal aliens, they need to be jailed.

Cheap labor for corrupt business enterprises in the short run and a mass voting block for the Democrats in the long run are the reason for the third world invasion of America that began in 1965.


January 28th, 2011
6:28 am

Federal law requires all employers, agriculture included, to E-verify all employees. For the past two years the Feds have charged 10 times as many employers with hiring illegals as did the prior administration.
“Businesses were fined $6.9 million in fiscal 2010, up from $675,000 in 2008.”

Will they keep it up with an election looming in 2012?

Businesses finance American elections. Start issuing fines to business owners and campaign contributions dry up. How many of you are going to make these contributions?

$2,400 per election to a Federal candidate or the candidate’s campaign committee.
$5,000 per calendar year to a PAC.
$10,000 per calendar year to a State or local party committee.
$30,400 per calendar year
$115,500 total biennial limit.

As you know, or should know, money drives politics in the US. Your elected officials do not represent you the voter but you the campaign contributor.


January 28th, 2011
6:54 am

Good but token effort on the part of our legislators. Without significant change in enforcement of existing laws, any new proposals are just political rhetoric anyway.


January 28th, 2011
7:29 am

I hid the immigrant family in my attic (harboring) for months as the soldiers searched and hunted for them. One day my neighbor informed on me and the soldiers took me to jail and the family was taken to who knows where. Oh look, one of the little girls left her diary.


January 28th, 2011
7:37 am


My heart is with you, friend, but I don’t see how one can organize a boycott against any one farm or any number of particular farms. The farms’ produce enters the stream of commerce when it is harvested. It is processed and re-sold and put to various uses and mixes with the produce from other farms. You could never identify the farms you want to boycott.


January 28th, 2011
7:44 am


You use a dysphemism, ethnic cleansing, in a transparent effort to bolster a weak argument.

No one is proposing that police round up Hispanics and put them in a concentration camp. It is entirely legitimate for the legislature to make our state an inhospitable place for illegal aliens.


January 28th, 2011
7:50 am


“CHANGE THE LAWS TO MAKE IT LEGAL. What ever happend to the free market?”

Free market principles do not include open borders. This nation’s territory belongs to its citizens. It is in our interest to control immigration. Every other country on earth does the same thing. Try emigrating to Mexico and you will learn something about strict immigration laws.


January 28th, 2011
8:18 am

The agriculture business gets major federal subsidies and the farmers do very well, especially since the Georgian citizens pay to subsidize their labor force through free healthcare (ER rooms), free schooling for their children, Section 8 and food stamps. There is a provision – H2A – where farmers can bring in all the labor they need legally. Only the wives and families will stay in place and thereby not create more American anchor babies and breaking the back of the taxpayers.

Transporting illegals a crime? Great. I would like to see the end of the fat white guy driving a truck with his illegal slave “helper”. Shame on all of you for encouraging this travesty. The illegals encourage and hide the drug cartels and human smugglers, as well as gang members, in their community, which so happens to be the formerly nice suburban neighborhoods. They are now trashed, populated with third world inhabitants and meth labs.

Buzz G

January 28th, 2011
8:34 am

Why even have borders? Just open them up and let all 5 billion of the world’s poorest people in.
Then the farmers can have an infinite amount of cheap labor and pay them only twenty five cents an hour.
And we taxpayers can pay for their health care and schooling. The fact is that many of these big vegetable growers send big checks to politicians and they want a never ending supply of compliant and cheap labor. Money talks and that is why this country has 20 million illegal aliens wandering around. Both parties have been guilty. And people need to let their elected officials know that this is not acceptable.


January 28th, 2011
8:38 am

Michael, thanks for the good laugh. A brief respite form the usual citizenry mud slinging. A TASTE OF SPRING THIS WEEKEND YIPEE!!!

Paddy O

January 28th, 2011
9:03 am

Red – slavery? Are the farm pickers MANDATED by someone to be there? They are not even Americans for the most part. DICK: You ignoramous, do you like cheap food?

Joe Davis

January 28th, 2011
9:38 am

The ongoing problem with these farmers is that they get wave after wave of the “workers” who, once legitimized by working the farms, leave for other locations & jobs,thus prompting the need for another wave of “workers” to work for the lowest possible pay. The illegals don’t want to work the farms either and they escape to the cities and suburbs and the cycle goes on & on & on. Then the areas they move to and occupy are turned into slums and the cycle goes on & on & on to infinity. BTW the Anne Frank reference is pathetic. Example: the Vatican and Catholic church demand that we assist and allow as many people in as can get here. Try to enter the Vatican or one of the gated communities in America illegally and take up residence. Think people, think hard. These are all now industries employing many people..the racism industry, the poverty industry, the immigration industry all pit the working class “citizen” ( whatever that is now) against each other while the elites plunder everything tied down or not.Stop this insanity from continuing unabated NOW.

blue dog

January 28th, 2011
9:52 am

If this type of bill passes, whole towns, down in south Georgia will become abandoned. If you have not driven through rural middle and south Georgia recently, you should do so now. There really are two Georgias. South Carolina is maybe even worse economically in the rural areas of the state. One has to ask…what could have been done to stop this economic decline…you never hear politicians concern about the decay…just makes you wonder. Take that day trip and see what a third world country looks like.

The Centrist

January 28th, 2011
10:09 am

Legal foreign workers for seasonal jobs, already must verify the legal status of workers, per federal regulation. My bill, therefore, excludes agricultural businesses from the E-Verify provision. I guess this makes perfect logic to Sen. Murphy although us dumb folks know that E-Verify is the easiest way to confirm ones legal status.


January 28th, 2011
10:20 am

Hello GB, did you read all of my post? Who said anything about rounding up Latinos? Their intention is to cleanse the state of Georgia of illegal immigrants and their families through fear and intimidation. Law enforcement knows that it is impractical to incarcerate and deport illegal aliens in the manner in which Ramsey proposes.


January 28th, 2011
10:39 am

Blue dog, agriculture has helped keep unemployment rates down in states such as Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Vermont, New Hampshire, and North and South Dakota. The south should be leading the nation in agriculture. It’s time that the good old boys in the legislature stop talking out of both sides of their mouth on the issue of labor. Migrant hispanic workers have been working the fields of this country for 60 years. Stricter border enforcement has made it more difficult for them to come and go as they were accustomed to doing in the past. Now they tend to stay here rather than risk their lives in the desert. It’s time to confront the issue and resolve it.

blue dog

January 28th, 2011
10:58 am

All this fuss over people occupying rural areas too poor for anyone else to give a damn about, but our most poverty stricken citizens, and legal and illegal hispanics…then you throw in a guy named “Patel”,an Indian or Pakistani” who has the only store…not to go out of business…and it’s a convenience store…pushing lotto tickets and fried chicken… It must look a lot like they are back home in Mexico. Now, these poor souls are “taking our jobs”. No, they are not. These hardworking people, many times, do the labor no one else will do. If you believe in capitalism and free enterprise, how can you argue against a people who epitomize those ideals…and demonstrate them through hard work and dedication to their families. All they need is a chance. But, here in Georgia, where they mostly occupy our poorest regions…that’s asking for too much.

Atlanta-born Latino

January 28th, 2011
11:40 am

I’ve lived in Georgia all my life – including 7 years spent in Dalton – and I have personally seen the growth of the latino community in this state, both legal and illegal.

It just strikes me as so disingenuine that the loudest voices in opposition to illegal immigration didn’t complain when the flow of cheap labor provided all of metro Atlanta with a growth engine that helped us land the 1996 Olympics that basically put Georgia on the map internationally.

I come from a hispanic family with a long history here in the States. They are all legal purely due to the good fortune of my grandfather coming to America as a child, growing up in New York, and serving in the armed forces. My mother and aunts were all born in Colombia with full US Citizenship. Otherwise, I don’t know how my family’s history would have unfolded.

These “criminals” are people, people who don’t mean you any harm, who RISK THEIR LIVES just to get here, and accept a lower standard of living in many cases, and do work that none of YOU want to do. All that they ask is the opportunity to do the same work LEGALLY. Let them pay the fines, which are substantial, and become integrated.

However, from the hate that I see spewed on these posts, it then becomes clear that you have no true regard for the law. It is hatred and bigotry that motivates you, and it’s pathetically obvious.

Know this, however. The Latino community in Georgia, and indeed the US, is strong, and we will not let our undocumented brethren go down without a fight, and ultimately your HATE will be drowned out by our collective WILL.


January 28th, 2011
12:02 pm

Atlanta-born Latino

January 28th, 2011
11:40 am

You are absolutely correct. It’s all about hate and politics. I just hope the latino community will remember all of this when they are voting.


January 28th, 2011
12:33 pm

Get real! The Ga. Dept of Labor chose not to enforce a 2007 law requiring DOL to verify the status of workers on governmental contracts in Georgia. Why should a farmer have to deal with it?

Tired of BS

January 28th, 2011
2:54 pm

You better listen to King. He has more knowledge on the illegal problems we have, than anyone I’ve talked to.


January 28th, 2011
3:44 pm

Wow. The little girl’s diary talks about the internet bloggers who said she will get what she deserves. Up against the wall.

I am so glad I worked so hard and earned my right to be in this country. You know, being born.


January 28th, 2011
4:01 pm

Too funny that no one including Jim Galloway mentioned the H2A visa that lets farmers get all the legal workers they want to pick the onions and other crops. The problem there is that they must be paid a living wage. Because they are legal.

Slavery is not dead and Dems are not done using the poor. Good for King – he has real onions.


January 28th, 2011
4:23 pm


The Republicans are selling the rope to hang themselves on this issue. I’m not talking about the gullible voters who actually believe the pre-election lies. – remember the “Real Deal” supported an Arizona style law before the election – once elected, he changed his mind – what a surprise. All of the Latinos who were hauled into the state by Republican entities like the “Carpet Cartel”, will blindly vote for, (the ever-generous with others’ money),Democrats, not that it makes a difference – the “Real Deal” was a Democrat until the state switched to electing Republicans. If the state switches to the Communist Party, he will become a Communist. I think that people will eventually wake up to the fact that most politicians are self-serving lowlifes, who would rob their own grandmothers, if given a chance. They view political office as an opportunity to accumulate personal wealth, e.g. Sonny Perdue, and nothing more. As long as voters remain too lazy to research and apply some common sense logic as to who they are going to vote for, they will continue down this very familiar path.

WE have lost our way

January 28th, 2011
5:12 pm

Has anybody farmed in south Georgia????? You can not find anyone besides Mexicans to do labor work on farms.No south Georgia American will do work for minimum wage in 95+ heat 12 hours a day,six days a week. I know,been there done that!! If farmers do not have the labor resources to run farms( Chicken,agriculture,cotton,cows,etc.)what will you eat?What clothes will you wear?What meat will you have? The immigration subject is bigger than we think.