Photo: Georgia Agriculture
Farmers fear that if Georgia’s proposed immigration legislation comes into effect it will not only cost them time and money- it will put them out of business.
The immigration law being considered is intended to decrease the number of undocumented workers in the state, but predictions are that the agriculture sect, the states largest industry would be one of the hardest hit.
House Bill 87 and Senate Bill 40 would make it mandatory for employers to us E-Verify. the federal online employment verification program. It would not apply to farmers who use the H-2A program, sometimes referred to as the federal guest worker program, which allows farmers to fill temporary jobs with non-U.S. citizen workers.
If a Employer knowingly hires a undocumented immigrant, they will be fined and face jail time.
“The whole idea is it puts the burden on us as employers to police the whole system when this is a federal issue,” Chase, a farmer in Macon County said. “Besides putting an undue burden on the employer, it puts agriculture at a huge disadvantage. I don’t want to be locked up.”