The AJC has the results of a recent Georgia Agribusiness survey that shows the chilling effects of the HB87.  Those of us who were thinking beyond a simple solution anticipated these problems.  State Senators and Representatives warned of the potential hazards. Sure enough, before the legislation has even gone into effect, workers are opting to head to Florida and the Carolina’s to avoid harassment.



21 Responses to They Reap What They Sow.

  1. Jonathan says:

    Hmm people willing to work hard, back breaking jobs for next to nothing that other people are either unable or unwilling to do by picking the food that the rest of us eat and is a cornerstone of the state’s economy actually contribute something to society….who knew?

  2. Ed says:

    Completely anecdotal evidence but… Driving past a typical spot to find day laborers yesterday which is usually full of Hispanic guys looking for work. About half as many people as usual, not one was Hispanic.

  3. JMPrince says:

    Somewhat related, but not all of the potential conflict here is going to be with the usual Mexican/South American low skilled migrants, and there are likely to be several other communities involved:


  4. JMPrince says:

    Experience is their guide here DB. If they had prior contact with ICE, or knowledge of same from friends & family, it was likely less than pleasant. Family separations remain a recurring nightmare for many. They have the real fear of their kids ‘disappearing’ into the social services system never to be seen again. Or more likely just long needless separations for families already facing long separations necessitated by migration. And the desperate need for legal aid that rarely comes, further putting many at the mercy of a system that can easily deport them or remove them to whatever facility of the Feds choosing.

    Again, a perusal to history might suggest that our famously ‘open borders’ have never really been secure. And we’ve happily (and officially) used our Southern neighbors as a ready reserve army/pool of employable cheap labor, especially for Agri-business, since at least WW11.

    We’ve had much stricter immigration and various ‘exclusion’ laws down through the years, with varying degrees of success. But most of the real enforcement provisions for these did not come at the border. They were pervasive in everyday life & in every major port in America, (before the days of widespread commercial air travel). Such a surveillance ‘blanket’ today would be prohibitively expensive, and still be ineffective for the manpower required.

    It’s not really just about ‘papers’ it’s about many larger issues rolled into this simplistic & counterproductive enforcement measure. But it’s much easier just to shout & curse at ’em I guess. JMP

    • Dave Bearse says:

      The point I was trying to make is HB87 is going to deter legal immigrants. Why would an immigrants subject themselver to the possibility of immigration enforcement hassle when they can simply skip Georgan and head to another state.

      • CatherineAtlanta says:

        Exactly Dave. That’s what I was trying to say above. At this point it, status doesn’t really matter. The threat of harassment will keep both documented and undocumented workers away and devastate our agricultural economy. And others to follow.

  5. Dave Bearse says:

    Provide an analogy tea partiers understand.

    Say South Carolina passed a law that people with out of state plates can be pulled over and their papers checked. It’s no big deal, you’ll only be delayed a few minutes while your papers are being checked. If there’s an anomony and you have to go down to the station, not to worry, the you’ll be on your way in a few hours when things are straightened out. Oh, your wife left her license at the hotel? Well that’s criminal. It may be the next day before she’ll be released.

    So Joe, are you going to spend your vacation in South Carolina, or somewhere else?

  6. Red says:

    Interestingly, they are going to run these folks either out of state or back to Mexico or points south. Many of them are scared of having their family broken up, because they have kids who are US citizens. In a few years these kids will be back as voting adults. In the end these pols will pay and pay dearly as will all of us in the then minority.

  7. JMPrince says:

    Not at all Grift. From debt peonage share cropping to migrant labor in 1-2 generations, that’s the 20th c. history here. Going further back it was frank slavery, not just ‘slavery by other means’. Take it all the way back to the founding generations and you’d see a mix of many different systems, debt peonage, indentured servitude and race based slavery. The latter of course grew to outdistance in importance and reliance of all other types by the early 1800’s. Nothing unusual here or unknown. JMP

  8. griftdrift says:

    Slave labor. Really. Thanks for bringing some perspective to an otherwise reasonable conversation.

  9. JMPrince says:

    The comments on there are interesting too. But we’ve been addicted to cheap and slave labor since our founding. And mostly ever since, with few respites.

    So it was a disaster foretold, and once again ideology trumps reality and long experience. Unsurprising.

    What was interesting was how fast the info got out there to the affected populations. I imagine some legislators may have thought that they might ‘clean this up’ only after the election, when the real purpose of the entire exercise was met. But silly migrants, they don’t want to stay where they’re not wanted. And they really don’t want or like to be ‘hassled’, even if they’re Legal. Most of them might have family that’s not. There’s easier livelihoods to be made elsewhere.

    But eventually? Sorry, most of this cheap labor will return to Mexico, where due to their political-economic instability, costs will still be far higher than many care to imagine or predict. Overall, ideas and votes do have consequences. Just few predicted it would be happening as fast as it did. TV & Radio can do that. JMP

  10. CatherineAtlanta says:

    Alas, if we could only “put it in our pipe and smoke it”, but that’s another thread for another day.

  11. griftdrift says:

    Well I’m not, but you knew that. 🙂

    The bottom line is this IS a market issue. There is a labor pool that is willing to work in that market for the prevailing wages and keeping them picking has no real affect on costs.

    On the other hand, there is another labor pool that may or not be willing to perform the works, is likely not going to do the work for the prevailing wages and accessing that labor pool is going to cause costs even above potential wage increases. You are definitely talking about astronomical jumps in prices.

    And the only real difference is government regulation is preventing access to the first labor pool.

    So the next time one of your Republican friends starts chirping about “free markets”, tell them to take that little nugget, put it in their pipe and smoke it.

  12. CatherineAtlanta says:

    A couple things.

    1. Many of the “seasonal workers” are in this country legally. There are programs geared specifically to agriculture that allows for visiting workers. Problem is, even those here legally are opting to head to friendlier locales to avoid the potential harassment. It’s not a hard choice to make. Imagine if you are a documented visiting worker. You’re headed to work one day and get pulled over and harassed; asked for you”papers”, and are delayed in getting to work. There goes part (or all) of one day of menial wages and possibly the loss of the whole job. Why bother?

    2. I have always said that if we really want to solve this problem it’s going to cost us. I am A-OK paying $7.00 a pound for Vidalia onions or $8.00 for a fast food chicken sandwich. If it means workers are being paid a good wage and contributing back into our economy in a more robust way. I am afraid I am much in the minority on these points…

    • wini cox says:

      Catherine, I agree, I had rather pay more for my pizza and know that the workers have healthcare, paid vacation and a pension when they are too old to work. In Europe the Pizza Hut workers have these rights and you don’t see half a pizza in the garbage . Waste not, want not.

  13. griftdrift says:

    You can’t destroy a significant portion of the economy to make a point.

    And competitive wages is a smoke screen. It’s about access to the labor pool. The labor pool that is accessible is drying up for the reasons Catherine cited. The other labor pools, i.e. the unemployed, are not located where they are easily accessible to the farmers.

    Even if you increased the wages by 20%, which would be $12 an hour, not enough laid off carpet mill workers are going to relocate 300 miles to make up the shortage in labor.

    • Jen B. says:

      Even if you increased the wages by 20%, which would be $12 an hour, not enough laid off carpet mill workers are going to relocate 300 miles to make up the shortage in labor.

      That’s a reasonable point. I should think before I start cursing and commenting.

  14. Jen B. says:

    I know AgBiz lobbied against HB87, but fuck them. Now they’ll have actually have to hire people at a competitive rate if they want to survive.