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Latino Daily News

Thursday June 16, 2011

Georgia Farmers Face Labor Shortage, Gov. Says to Use Offenders on Probation

Georgia Farmers Face Labor Shortage, Gov. Says to Use Offenders on Probation

Photo: Georgia Farmers Face Labor Shortage, Gov. Says to Use Offenders on Probation

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Georgia governor has shared his proposal for easing the labor shortage issues faces farmers who say that the crackdown of undocumented workers has left them with fewer people willing to work in their fields.

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, has suggested that in order to keep costs down, people on probation should be hired to work the fields in place of the undocumented. His idea was devised after many of his constituents expressed concern that an illegal immigration law was scaring away farmworkers needed to harvest peaches and berries, which cannot be done by machines, as they are easily damaged by said machines.

In a written statement, Gov. Deal said believed a probationed-workers program “would be a great partial solution to our current status as we continue to move towards sustainable results with the legal options available.”

The statement came after a survey showed that roughly 11,000 agriculture jobs were unfilled, forcing some farmers to leave a number of acres to rot.

State officials are still putting together the details of the plan, but so far it states that farmers will not be forced to offenders of probation. On the other end, as offenders are allowed to turn down job offers, any that are offered farm work can turn the labor-intensive jobs. However, if those on probation continuously refuse to take a job, they may face additional punishment.

The Georgia Farm Bureau has long urged the state’s leaders to step out of the hot-button immigration and leave it to the federal government, but Gov. Deal is unlikely to listen.

Deal has notably supported legislation in Congress that would have allowed U.S. military forces to enforce immigration laws at the border, and ended birthright citizenship for children born in the U.S. to undocumented parents