New Immigration Bill Causes Some Employers to Worry

New Immigration Bill Causes Some Employers to Worry

03/8/2011

A proposed state law that targets illegal immigration is causing some South Georgia farmers and construction companies to worry.

They say that it has the potentiality of driving away legal migrant workers from Georgia, causing huge economic problems for some businesses that bank on seasonal labor.

In case Senate Bill 40 is passed into law, both illegal and legal immigrant farm workers would steer clear of Georgia totally, says Lany Wooten.

Although he seldom hires seasonal labor, the proposed law is also causing him to worry. “I feel like it would be devastating to the farm industry, because it’s going to make the legal immigrants that are working, scared to come into Georgia. It’s going to be unfriendly to them,” said Wooten.

Senate Bill 40 require businesses to conduct in-depth checks on all new hires by using the federal database E-verify to make sure that they are authorized to work in the United States. Those who hire illegal immigrants risk being fined or having their business licenses revoked.

Ben Barrow, the co-owner of LRA Constructors, have been using E-verify, but maintains that private business entities must not be saddled with this task.

“It’s a long line of governmental regulations that interfere with private business. Business that is trying to make a living,” said Barrow.

The Georgia Farm Bureau, the biggest lobbying group for the state’s premier industry, told state legislators that tough legislation directed at the problem on illegal immigration can damage the struggling economy.

As Wooten said, “It shouldn’t be put on the back of the farmer or the businessman to patrol, whether they are legal or they are not. That issue is a federal one.”

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com