- Sep 29, 2005
- Reaction score
- Surfing the Oceans of Liquidity
An Alabama law to tackle illegal immigration is coming under fire from some business leaders in the state, who say the measure is undermining Alabama's economy even before it takes effect.
Representatives of agribusiness, the state's biggest industry, and sectors such as construction, which is charged with rebuilding the tornado-hit city of Tuscaloosa, are reporting worker shortages because of immigrants already fleeing the state. The state agriculture commission says squash, tomatoes and other produce are rotting in the fields.
"We have a big problem on our hands," said Brett Hall, the state's deputy commissioner for agriculture and industry. "Farmers and business people could go under."
Their experiences mirror those of business leaders and farmers in Georgia, who have complained that a similar law signed in May in their state is driving away immigrant workers vital to farming, poultry, restaurants and other businesses in the state. ...
James Latham, chief executive of WAR Construction Inc. in Tuscaloosa, expressed concern about the impact of the exodus on reconstructing the tornado-ravaged region.
"We are seeing smaller crews, and work taking longer to get accomplished, due to less available workers," said Mr. Latham, who is also president of Alabama Associated General Contractors. ...
Instead of expanding his peach farm and adjacent jam and basket-weaving factory, "I'm closing down on Sept. 1," said Hal Hayes of Clanton, Ala.
Echoing a point raised by farmers in other states, Mr. Hayes said that a handful of Americans who showed up to apply for jobs demanded that he pay them off the books so that they can continue to collect unemployment benefits.
Mr. Hayes, who has farmed for more than three decades, said, "We are going to lay everybody off and I am going to draw unemployment because the state put me out of business."
Alabama Immigrant Law Irks Business - WSJ.com