Few Americans are Taking Work Left by Immigrants In Alabama

Few Americans are Taking Work Left by Immigrants In Alabama

11/5/2011

 

Keith Smith, a potato farmer, saw most of his immigrant workers leave after the tough immigration law of Alabama took effect. So he hired Americans. According to Smith, the move has not worked out. Most of his new hires showed up late, worked slower compared to seasoned farm hands, and many are ready to call it a day after the lunch hour or by mid-afternoon. Some of them quit after working for one day.

In the state of Alabama, as well as in other parts of the United States, farmers must look for labor beyond the borders of the nation because a lot of Americans simply do not want the backbreaking and low-paying jobs that immigrants are willing to take.

Politicians who advocated and supported the immigration law say that over time, more unemployed Americans will fill these vacant jobs. They insist that it is too early to consider the law as a failure, yet numbers from the office of the governor show only minimal interest.

Farmer Smith said, “I’ve had people calling me wanting to work. I haven’t turned any of them down, but they’re not any good. It’s hard work, they just don’t work like the Hispanics with experience.”

Alabama passed its immigration law in June and the Obama administration immediately challenged it in courts, as it had also done in other states. However, unlike the measures in other states, the immigration law of Alabama was left largely intact while challenges played out in court. This frightened Hispanics, forcing them to leave the state.

The agriculture industry has suffered the most immediate impact. Many farmers say that they will have to either downsize or let their crops die on the vine. As the season’s harvest wind down, many farmers are getting extremely concerned about next year.

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com