According to studies from the University of Georgia, the state’s new immigration law could end up costing Georgia farmers millions of dollars in lost revenue. The immigration law, passed last July, requires all employers to use the federal E-Verify system, which matches employee information against a federal database to verify immigration status. In addition, the law gives the police the power to verify the immigration status of individual they arrest.
Shortly after the bill passed the state experienced an exodus of farm laborers. Farmers who grow the state’s seven largest crops reported labor deficits of nearly 6,000. Efforts by the governor to use convict and parolee labor failed when the overwhelming majority of parolees left the job after only a few days.
According to the University of Georgia’s Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, farmers have lost over $140 million since the law went into effect on July 1. These massive losses also translate into a $390 million loss for the larger state economy and the loss of over 3,200 jobs, devastating news in the midst of the economic recession.
The Center for American Progress predicted even heavier losses for the state’s agricultural sector, releasing a report that indicated that the state could lose between $300 million and $1 billion as a result of lost labor.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer