Your morning jolt: John Barrow says Georgia immigration law has left crops ‘rotting in field’

U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Savannah, on Tuesday said the state Legislature, whose members include at least one Republican opponent, acted in a short-sighted manner when it approved a measure to require businesses – including farmers – to use a federal data base to screen out illegal immigrants.

U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Savannah/AP file

U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Savannah/AP file

The most salient points of H.B. 87 have been placed on hold by a federal judge while the right of a state to enforce federal immigration laws is hashed out in court.

In a series of interviews with Capitol reporters in Atlanta, designed to shine statewide attention on his south Georgia effort to survive in a newly drawn, heavily rural district, Barrow declared that he could support a federally mandated E-Verify program – but only if it applied to all states. Several are now moving through Congress, he said.

Barrow has already picked up one Republican opponent, state Rep. Lee Anderson of Grovetown, a farmer who supported passage this spring of H.B. 87.

The congressman, who has been drawn out of his Savannah residence, said state lawmakers neglected rural Georgia’s need for seasonal workers. “That’s where the summer vacation came from,” he said.

Continued Barrow:

”The problem with doing it at the state level is that it creates a tremendous competitive disadvantage vis a vis your neighbors.

“Folks will immediately respond. The idea that E-Verify can’t work has sort of been belied by the facts on the ground. Folks have responded to this, the fact that it’s on the horizon, in a dramatic way. It has had a dramatic effect. So it does show this kind of thing can work.

“But counties in the next state are laughing all the way to harvest. We’ve got crops rotting in the field. It’s not that undocumented aliens have left. They’ve gone some place where the pickings are easier.

“There’s no question that, if it’s going to be meaningful, if it’s going to be effective, it needs to be done at the federal level. What the state has proved is that it can work, it can deter, it can put the fear of discovery and enforcement in people, and actually cause them to respond accordingly.

“But what they’ve done is simply move a very short distance. But shorter than the distance they moved to get here in the first place.”

In a subsequent interview with the Associated Press, Barrow referred to H.B. 87 as a “ham-handed” piece of legislation.

***
In this morning’s Savannah Morning News, columnist Tom Barton points out that Republicans have given Barrow another campaign issue – a wrist-slap to a textile company suspected of polluting the Ogeechee River that flows through his new (and old) district:

King America Finishing, located along the Ogeechee in Screven County, faced whopping fines of up to $91 million for apparent violations of the Clean Water Act that date back to 2006.

Briefly, the Chicago-based company expanded its operations in 2006, but failed to get the required permits. State EPD inspectors discovered unauthorized discharges during inspections after the May fish kill, which zapped about 38,000 fish beginning just downriver from the King America discharge line.

The state could have taken the company to the woodshed. Instead, everyone cozied up in a boardroom.

The EPD, which is run by F. Allen Barnes, a lawyer who most recently worked as a partner in the environmental section of the giant King & Spalding law firm in Atlanta, reached a deal with King America’s attorney, Lee DeHihns, who does high-end, environmental-type legal work for another big Atlanta firm, Alston + Bird.

The result? King America will fork over just $1 million — an embarrassingly tiny amount.

One sign that the settlement has Republicans blushing is the following Tweet from former Senate president pro tem Eric Johnson, a Savannah resident:

Memo to the Georgia EPD: Don’t let King Finishing reopen until the owners can drink the water going into the Ogeechee River.

***
State Democrats will hold a press conference in Atlanta this morning, presumably to raise the names of state Sens. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, and William Ligdon, R-Brunswick, as the supervisors of a state-paid African-American secretary who has received a settlement check for $80,000. State Sen. Donzella James, D-Red Oak, did so last night with Lori Geary of Channel 2 Action News:

***
Today’s Chattanooga Free Press reports that, for the first time in a decade, Atlanta has shown interest in a high-speed rail line to Chattanooga, chipping in roughly $250,000 for a study related to the proposed bullet train:

Asked if he had heard that Delta Air Lines had encouraged Atlanta to drag its feet relating to high-speed rail in the past, [Joe Ferguson, who oversees the high-speed rail project for Chattanooga's Enterprise Center] said he had never heard conversations about that.

Also asked if the issue of a potential water deal permitting Georgia to access the Tennessee River was in play, the longtime rapid-raid advocate said he had never heard current Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed or his key staff people raise that idea.

That latter idea, by the way, has in fact been broached by House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge.

***
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at the assertion by John Sherman of the Fulton County Taxpayers Foundation that Beltline backers in the city of Atlanta wildly overspent for a small piece of land in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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54 comments Add your comment

Observer

September 28th, 2011
9:39 am

Barrow complains that the crops rot in the fields. While his (and his father’s and his grandfathers’) traditional populist political core are busy whining about no jobs. I’ve known John for 30 years, well before he was a carpetbagger, and like him. But I do wish John could, one day, find his left hand with his right hand,.

DannyX

September 28th, 2011
9:40 am

How can we possibly compete with China if the job creators are forbidden to dump industrial waste into our rivers?????? This is as bad as protecting the oysters in the gulf.

If we get rid of the state EPD we can let our businesses self regulate. If King America was allowed to self regulate they would have discovered the problem sooner.

td

September 28th, 2011
9:45 am

What crops and where are these crops rotting in the fields? Barrow could lead the democratic effort in DC to require E-verify for all states. Where is his legislation? Where is a speech on the subject? Alabama passed a similar law and SC will next year, so I guess he does not have to worry about the slave labor going across just one border.

JV

September 28th, 2011
10:01 am

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), Georgia farmers received $5.8 BILLION dollars in taxpayer federal FARM SUBSIDIES between 1995 and 2009. Georgia ranks 16th in the nation for this free money. EWG has a website. Just look it up. Of course this immigration law is not favored by Rep Barrow or the state farm lobby. They say it will cost too them much to use the legal route called the H2A program. How about using some of that $5.8 billion to pay for “LEGAL GUEST WORKERS”?

DannyX

September 28th, 2011
10:04 am

Strange that you never see white people in the fields. Are white people suffering from unemployment?

Look unemployed suburban whites, the state is broke, Georgia Republicans are going to cut off your benefits, you need to get your butts in the fields. You don’t want the brown people, who do you think is going to do your hard labor?

Besides, you’re making your own politicians look bad. Republican politicians have been saying for months now that the job stealing illegals must go. They were sticking up for their constituents, freeing up thousands of jobs for our unemployed. Well the Mexicans left, but our unemployed have not done their part. Our unemployed are at home watching cable tv and talking on their cell phones.

Our Republican heroes opened up the fields for our unemployed, get to work.

findog

September 28th, 2011
10:10 am

I agree with td in that it would be nice to have rotted crops documented

WAW

September 28th, 2011
10:14 am

Vote republican = vote against yourself, your family, your mama and daddy. Unemployed who are about to have the benefits cut, farmers, and the list keeps growing. “When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?” How’s your flower garden?

james j andrews

September 28th, 2011
10:19 am

Let them rot, and just ship from one of your corportate farms in Latin American farms. I’m sure you can bribe one of our upstanding politicians into paying the freight. It would be a hell of a lot cheaper on the taxpayers than adding more indigents to the government payroll.

KD

September 28th, 2011
10:21 am

So I guess cuz’en John is going to keep pandering till the day his last day as Congressman.

cs

September 28th, 2011
10:30 am

Although I was pulling for him, that pretty much assures his defeat. Smart people refusing slave labor wages is more the reason any crops rotted in any fields.

Richard Bagge

September 28th, 2011
10:31 am

td, it has been discussed for months that migrant workers have been moving from Georgia to midwestern states like Kansas. And if you don’t believe that crops have been rotting in the fields, have a drive around Wrens and Louisville and talk to the locals. They’re only a couple of hours away. I have heard from family that the summer picking was much worse for farmers around Moultrie and Tifton.

DannyX

September 28th, 2011
10:34 am

“I’m sure you can bribe one of our upstanding politicians into paying the freight.”

This is an excellent idea, we need Deal off begging again for the port expansion, Sonny has the ground freight covered.

Georgian

September 28th, 2011
10:39 am

Interesting that Barrow would say this considering he wanted to ban undocumented children from schools in 2007. Headline from La Voz Latina in Savannah: “U.S. Congressman (John Barrow, D-Savannah) wants to ban immigrant children from public schools” in December 2007. Change of heart or simply pandering for farmer votes?

clem

September 28th, 2011
10:40 am

how bout that palin referring to cain as herb cain….good going TP

[...] Story brought to you by Savannah GA Business – Bing News [...]

Red

September 28th, 2011
10:51 am

Since immigration is a federal issue Congressman, why don’t you do something that you have the means to do rather than whine about what you have no control over? Democrats talk a mean game but when it comes down to voting they are just as guilty as being bought by special interests as Republicans.

td

September 28th, 2011
11:08 am

Richard Bagge

September 28th, 2011
10:31 am

Again, What crops rotted? We have the 3 TV stations in Atlanta and one newspaper (AJC) that openly supports illegals, so if what you and Barrow was saying happened on a widespread nature, would you not think they would be over those fields with their helicopters getting the film?

Do I believe that some crops rotted in the field this year? Yes, but some crops rot every year. Do I believe farmers had to pay a little more this year to get the crops picked and in return made less money? Yes and they are whinning about it now.

Alpha23

September 28th, 2011
11:16 am

Let us see those ‘rotting’ veggies and fruits on channel 11 news! Don’t they ask the ‘tough’ questions?!!!

GaPatriot

September 28th, 2011
11:22 am

We have NO farms in Cobb County, but we are covered over with illegals. Landscaping and painting trucks are criss-crossing the county every day, and the sidewalks are full of pregnant mamas pushing 2-3 toddlers. Please come and get your “workers” farmers.

Smoke

September 28th, 2011
11:31 am

You can tell that somesome doubting Dixiecrats don’t go to the grocery store, nor do they remember the study commissioned by Deal that confirmed the impact of the worker shortage.

Smoke

September 28th, 2011
11:45 am

King America proves why Dixiecrats have no need for regulations like the Clean Water Act. We know KA polluted the Ogeechee River in the best interest of its workers and the community. Besides, $26 per fish is too much to pay for 38,000 fish.

A dad

September 28th, 2011
11:46 am

“Undocumented aliens.” Gotta love it. A better term would be “undocumented Democrats.”

joe

September 28th, 2011
11:50 am

Vote Obama=Vote Against individual responsibility, self-reliance, our constitution, our freedom, our capitalistic system, our future, our children’s way of life, our country…Out of control spending, ever increasing debt and entitlement dependent culture…when will they ever learn?

common sense

September 28th, 2011
11:51 am

E-verify is a violation of our Right to Privacy

james j andrews

September 28th, 2011
11:59 am

They don’t grow alot of crops in Dalton either. Saxby and the onion farmers made it all possible for the carpet and chicken cartels to recruit 10s of thousands of illegal aliens to our state, and no one should forget it, if Saxby is foolish enough to run again. Enough is enough. If the farmers can’t operate their businesses legally, they should join the unemployed. I don’t think they are going to get a lot of sympathy from fed up Georgians.

roughrider

September 28th, 2011
12:14 pm

Barrow and the big farmers want laws against illegal immigration unless it affects them.

Boniffa

September 28th, 2011
12:22 pm

I wish Mr. Barrow understood how ridiculous he sounds. He is a United States Congressman, sworn to uphold our Constitution and laws, and he advocates using illegal aliens for farm labor because it’s convenient and cheap. What a nimrod, good riddance if he’s redistricted out of his job.

Karl Marx

September 28th, 2011
12:22 pm

Someone should ask these farmers how much they save in taxes by hiring H2-A guest workers. Nice our politicians give these guys a program to discriminate against American workers while these save 8 to 10% in Social Security and employment taxes. Let all of it rot for all I care. I hope they all lose their farm and have to stand in the unemployment line with the rest of us.

common sense

September 28th, 2011
12:24 pm

time for a Tax Revolt, followed by a REAL REVOLT.

WAW

September 28th, 2011
12:25 pm

Joe: individual responsibility, self-reliance, our constitution, our freedom, our capitalistic system, our future, our children’s way of life, our country… but not as defined by Grover Norquist and the Koch brothers. I like what Elizabeth Warren a Mass. US Senate candidate said:
“You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.
“Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

DannyX

September 28th, 2011
12:26 pm

“Nice our politicians give these guys a program to discriminate against American workers while these save 8 to 10% in Social Security and employment taxes”

Just who are these American farm workers and where are they hiding?

td

September 28th, 2011
12:31 pm

DannyX

September 28th, 2011
12:26 pm

“Just who are these American farm workers and where are they hiding?”

As soon as we start cutting off those 99 weeks of unemployment and reducing the welfare benefits(or putting a work reqirement to them or drug testing) they will be lining up for those jobs.

BB

September 28th, 2011
12:35 pm

Yeah, the Tea Partiers wouldn’t support any federal legislation since they want everything delegated to the states…

DannyX

September 28th, 2011
12:38 pm

I think we need another round of affirmative action. Until the farmers are forced to hire lazy Americans they won’t. Lets start small then build the program.

Farmers should be forced to hire a 50% white workforce. Whites should be forced to take the jobs they don’t want to do. White people seem to forget that farmers are the job creators. We must force white people into farming to fight anti white discrimination.

Fields or jail. Certainly no unemployment as long as there are field jobs.

DixieDemons

September 28th, 2011
12:38 pm

It seems like the only thing Georgia is good at is creating its own problems due to low morals and misguided value systems.

yuzeyurbrane

September 28th, 2011
12:49 pm

New District, same playbook. Barrow is sucking up to farmers but his will be unrequited love.

Doc

September 28th, 2011
1:06 pm

Funny to me that the “redneck farmers” were the first to bash illegals until someone tried to fix the problem…and once the problem was addressed, the “redneck farmers” were the first to cry foul when they stopped making as much profit on the backs of underpaid, basically slave, labor. Why should every other taxpayer subsidize the wages of certain industries by not fixing the multi-billion problem?

Atlas Who?

September 28th, 2011
1:13 pm

SELF REGULATE?? did someone here just say to let businesses “self regulate”???? That’s exactly what Hedge Funds and Derivatives Traders do.

And how’s that working out for America?

[...] See the original post: Your morning jolt: John Barrow says state illegal immigration law … [...]

Veronica

September 28th, 2011
1:52 pm

Education is nothing but a bunch of politicians! It’s who you know not what you know. Simply Amazing! What happened to the real teachers that taught the basics. You have children now that pass all through school and not know how to read or write. The school system is really messed up. Who in the world made up the CRCT, GAA, and the exit exam for graduates. Why is the system making it harder for children to get out of school?

Karl Marx

September 28th, 2011
2:01 pm

Hey Danny X, here is one on them. reported right here in the good old AJC

“A South Georgia Company is under investigation for job discrimination against US citizens. The EEOC said Hamilton Growers/Southern Valley Fruit and Vegetable Inc. engaged in a “pattern or practice of regularly denying work hours and assigning less favorable” work to U.S. workers in favor of foreigners in the federal H-2A guest worker program.” The EEOC also said they showed a pattern of firing U.S. workers and replacing them with H-2A employees. The Company denies the allegation and accused the U.S. workers of violating attendance rules, loitering and failing to keep up with the work.”

Karl Marx

September 28th, 2011
2:04 pm

That article also stated the H2-A Guest worker program tax savings these companies receive from the State and the Feds for hiring foreign workers. Nice isn’t it?

Karl Marx

September 28th, 2011
2:07 pm

Here is another great guest worker program. We have foreign student protesting at the Hershey factory in Pennsylvania because of questionable employment practices under the J1 visa program. They make $8.35 an hour, but rent and program fees are deducted from their paychecks, leaving them with less money than they spent on the visas and travel to come here to work. Hersey denies wrongdoing because the Students work for a temp agency and not directly for Hersey. Boy we have heard that one before.

Both remind me of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s song, 16 tons and what do you get?

Why would companies engage in such practice? Simple, it’s corporate welfare because they save over 8% on Social Security and other taxes they do not have to pay. Why not demand those companies pay a 25% premium to hire foreign workers. Problem solved.

Let’s put Americans back to work first.

DannyX

September 28th, 2011
2:19 pm

“accused the U.S. workers of violating attendance rules, loitering and failing to keep up with the work.”

Of course there will be some adjustments to the new affirmative action. Farmers will need to hire 5 US workers for every foreign worker. Of course the American is going to want basic health care insurance too. Republicans will cheerfully pay 10x more for food.

[...] See the rest here: Your morning jolt: John Barrow says state illegal immigration law … [...]

double

September 28th, 2011
2:31 pm

everybody wants to go to heaven nobody wants to die.everybody wants a payday nobody wants to work.There was a time when jobs were appreciated,people were thankful to have a job.Now we are to lazy to work,and resentful of those who will work.

Karl Marx

September 28th, 2011
2:51 pm

DannyX now now don’t use your work ethic as a standard for everyone else.

Bob

September 28th, 2011
5:54 pm

Just wondering how the farmers harvested their crops prior to the great illegal invasion of the late 80s. Maybe they paid a livable wage?

phillip

September 28th, 2011
8:47 pm

Sounds like the farmers need to do some rethinking of their situation.

fire eater

September 29th, 2011
5:08 am

Note to “farmers” whining about the illegal alien CORPORATE WELFARE program ending: There is no law, written, moral or otherwise guaranteeing you a endless pool of slave labor. The Law of Supply and Demand will be applied to you as well as the rest of us. If you have a task needing labor, you will pay what the market will bear. We taxpayers are OVER subsidizing your enterprises with our funding your slaves via free medical care, education and welfare benefits.

Georgia’s bold move against illegal aliens has produced dramatic results…this writer was in alien-swamped Whitfield county recently and saw HELP WANTED banners outside of plants that previously were staffed with illegals. An inquiry by me to locals revealed that many illegals had decamped to Tennessee, which has not YET imposed such measures due to resistance from big business.

Georgia does not need John Barrow or any other advocate of CHEAP SLAVE LABOR.