Agri-business News georgia watermelon crop

Published on June 27th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan

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Georgia Loses Millions of Dollars Worth of Crops because of Anti-Immigration Law

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Huge fallacy: undocumented immigrants don’t contribute to society.

Truth: undocumented immigrants do tremendously important work in inhumane conditions and for completely unfair wages so that Americans can eat cheap food.

Test: Georgia Republican lawmakers recently passed legislation geared at pushing undocumented, “illegal” immigrants out of the state of Georgia.

Test Result: Georgia, which relies heavily on farming, is letting millions of dollars worth of crops (blueberries, melons, onions, etc) rot in its fields and politicians are now scrambling to ‘solve’ the problem. Well, not really letting, since they want and need the crops, but what can you do when you force the ‘useless’ farmworkers out of your state?

More details:

After enacting House Bill 87, a law designed to drive illegal immigrants out of Georgia, state officials appear shocked to discover that HB 87 is, well, driving a lot of illegal immigrants out of Georgia.

It might be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

Thanks to the resulting labor shortage, Georgia farmers have been forced to leave millions of dollars’ worth of blueberries, onions, melons and other crops unharvested and rotting in the fields. It has also put state officials into something of a panic at the damage they’ve done to Georgia’s largest industry.

Barely a month ago, you might recall, Gov. Nathan Deal welcomed the TV cameras into his office as he proudly signed HB 87 into law. Two weeks later, with farmers howling, a scrambling Deal ordered a hasty investigation into the impact of the law he had just signed, as if all this had come as quite a surprise to him.

Yes, too many Republican lawmakers have a hard time discerning the effects of the ideologically-driven policies they propose (and sometimes pass). This is even more true for long-term issues, I would say.

Aside from anti-immigration laws like this, we also see them proposing:

  • inaction on global climate change (which is already harming crops across the U.S., food prices, food security, and, thus, everyone who is dependent on cultivated food… which is basically everyone);
  • tax policies and other policies making the rich richer and the rest of us poorer;
  • policies that deregulate important food and agricultural policies designed to protect us from harmful chemicals or scientific manipulation.

In the next voting season, I recommend two things:

  1. Vote! (and not for Republicans supporting such policies)
  2. Run for office! Challenge the backwards-thinking Republicans and ‘moderate’ Democrats that propose and pass such horrible policies.

More thoughts?

h/t Crooks & Liars

Related Stories on Eat Drink Better:

  1. Food Security & Global Weirding
  2. Climate Change and Rise in Food Prices
  3. Texas’ Worst Drought in 44 Years Driving Food Prices Up
  4. Food Prices Rising Fast in U.S., More to Come?

Photos via faulTom Gill (lapstrake)

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



  • http://Web George Hardin

    Why don’t they go to the unemployment office and hire an out of work American. I know 16 U.S. citizens who are desperately seeking work right now, but the problem of “Undocumented workers”in Arkansas has them competing with THOUSANDS of Illegals who will get the job so that the employers can save a buck. I used to love this Country…now it all seems to be about making a buck and screwing the little guy.

    • http://importantmedia.org/members/beckyanne/ Becky Striepe

      Wasn’t there a call for American laborers on farms, where only a handful of people showed up to train? I wish I could remember the name of the program. Hopefully, someone else will chime in.

  • http://Web A

    Hey genius, they are going to be putting to work people with jail time, so we get the same positions filled by LEGAL all-be-it citizens who have broken the law… but at least it’s citizens breaking the laws and not non-citizens breaking our laws… good first step….

  • Pingback: Georgia Anti-Immigrant Legislation & Farmworker Crisis Update: Slaves, Convicts, & More – Eat Drink Better

  • http://Web john

    Yeah agreed. Let’s reverse that right wing law & continue the use&abuse of as you put it those: “undocumented immigrants &who* work in inhumane conditions and for completely unfair wages so that Americans can eat cheap food.”

    Hell yeah, mistreatment of illegals for the sake of cheap food isn’t a human rights issue. Go Democrats.

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