Georgia is already suffering from it, now it is hitting Alabama as well. With undocumented immigrants accounting for roughly half of all migrant farm workers nationally, a farm labor crisis is developing in the deep South. Here is how one farmer described the situation to her local Troy, Alabama, television station:
A Troy cattle farmer is speaking out to CBS 8 about Alabama’s new illegal immigration law. She says the new law will hurt her business, along with other farms across the state.
Krissy Pinckard owns a commercial cattle farm in Troy. She tells CBS 8 for years it’s been difficult finding folks willing to do manual labor on her farm, and now, she fears the new immigration law will make it even harder.
“You need help feeding the cattle. Getting the cattle in,” Pinckard says.
Last month, Alabama passed an anti-immigration law requiring employers to determine if any worker is in the country legally. Pinckard says this law will cause her farm to take a hit.
“I want to know who is going to do the work! I want somebody to say, ‘Oh we’re going to have a line of people wanting to come and do that work,’ because thus far, I haven’t seen that,” she says.
Pinckard says she can’t remember the last time an American asked for a job.
“I couldn’t tell you. I just.. hmm… I just don’t know… when the last time, you know, somebody showed up wanting a job,” says Pinckard.
She says the problem with the policies is that lawmakers are blind to the fact farmers depend on immigrant labor.
“Folks went to hiring help that they could depend on that would do the work… I think it is absolutely insane that we would think about sending someone back to wherever that is a very valuable member of our work force,” says Pinckard
State Representative Alan Boothe who voted in favor of the bill says the law is only doing what the federal government won’t do.
“It was not the intention the law to put people out of business, or to cause hardship. We looked at this law as if a person is here illegally, they should either become legal or should not be employed,” Boothe says.
Pinckard says when the law goes into effect September 1, her farm will suffer, and says folks will start to see most of the meat and produce in grocery stores imported.
“When you don’t have that grown in Alabama sticker on something. Wow! What kind of lawmaker thinks that’s going to be okay.”
Let’s hope the anti-immigrant crowd are taking off their suits and heading down to Alabama to shovel Ms. Pinkard’s cow …..