CBS went to Georgia to get the story of how that state’s new immigration law, with its mandatory E-Verify provision, is impacting the state’s agricultural industry. CBS confirms what we’ve been hearing. Farmers and growers are experiencing an immediate — and costly — impact:
In south Georgia, it’s a banner year for blackberries – but a bad year for berry farmer Gary Paulk.
“There’s a lot of what appear to be good berries,” Paulk said. “If we had the workers.”
On one corner of this family farm, twenty acres of blackberries rot away.
“This is a healthy field. And it should have been picked,” Paulk said. “But there’s nobody here.”
No workers means there’s already been a huge cost. And Georgia’s anti-immigrant elected officials, who passed the law, were flat wrong about finding workers to do the job:
Money doesn’t grow on trees, but it does fall from these bushes. Unpicked blackberries – for this farm, is a loss of $10,000 an acre – $200,000 in all.
Supporters of Georgia’s new immigration law argued legal workers should be easy to find in a state where the unemployment rate’s almost ten percent. But farmers like Paulk know most Americans want no part of picking blackberries. It’s hot, back-breaking work, for $12 an hour.
Watch the CBS report: