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Farmers Worried About Crops Due to Immigration Law

By admin | September 29, 2011

Photo:International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center

By: Melaina Gasbarrino

The world of farming is about to change with the new Alabama law against illegal immigration, especially if it is put into place beyond Alabama borders. The new law, which forces illegal immigrants out of the country was partially put into effect yesterday, and as a result many Hispanic employees at farms across Alabama are fleeing the country. This of course is taking a toll on the farming community of Good Hope, Alabama, one of Alabama’s leading agricultural areas, because the majority of farm workers are illegal or legal immigrants.

First things first, immigrants flee to the USA and the first job they are accustomed to finding is in farming. The majority of farms throughout Alabama mostly have immigrants who are tending to the fields instead of American citizens. Why, you ask? Well in today’s day and age as noted in Jay Reeves’, “Farmers: Immigration Law May Cost Crops,” Americans aren’t willing to “sweat in the fields and get dirty even though wages are usually well above minimum wage.” And so this past Monday, farmers gathered in Good Hope, Alabama to plead to legislators to change the state’s new law against illegal immigration as millions of crops are at risk in the upcoming harvest season.

The law that farmers are hoping will be changed states that it is ‘a crime to employ or assist an illegal immigrant remaining in the country’. What lawmakers are not taking into consideration is that this new immigration law will break the lifeline of agriculture in Alabama. Kim Haynes of Cullman, Alabama says about half of his workers (legal and illegal immigrants) have fled the state as they feared the law would take effect in the next couple of days. This means that Haynes, and his 25-acres of sweet potato crops, along with the 50 other famers in attendances crops, will suffer. Millions of dollars will go down the drain if farms in Alabama don’t come up with a solution, and fast.

Wayne Walker, Deputy Agriculture Commissioner, is sweating over the fact that millions of dollars will be lost if the law is passed. Take a look at “How Immigrants Keep us Fed,” where we dive into how there is a continued rise in migrant agricultural workers in the USA. Or better yet, we can only hope there will be an even greater increase in female farmers across America to loosen the rails on immigrant farming. For the farmers sakes we hope the law isn’t set in stone to allow for a proper harvest this October.

Photo: CIMMYT

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