Georgia's tough anti-illegal-immigrant law drove a sizable fraction of the migrant labor pool out of the state, and as a result, "millions of dollars' worth of blueberries, onions, melons and other crops [are] unharvested and rotting in the fields." The jobs the migrants did paid an average of $8/hour, without benefits, a wage that is so low that the state's probationed prisoners have turned it down. Guest-writing in the Atlantic's economics section, Adam Ozimek doesn't believe that the farms would be viable if they paid wages that legal American workers would take: "it's quite possible that the wages required to get workers to do the job are so high that it's no longer profitable for farmers to plant the crops in the first place."
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.
Ga's farm-labor crisis playing out as planned