Guest Worker Program, H-2A, Labor, Visas

Farmers Petition To Get Immigration Law Rescinded

From WSBTV.com, 22 Jun 2011.

ATLANTA — A group called Georgia Families United for Economic Survival hand-delivered stacks of signed petitions to the office of Gov. Nathan Deal, asking him to rescind the state’s new immigration law, known as HB87.

The petitions were delivered by children, who say they are citizens, but one or both of their parents are not.

“American children in rural Georgia who are coming together to exercise their democratic rights,” said organizer Julie Contreras.

She said the children fear the new law will criminalize their parents and separate families.

“We do not protect the criminal, the murderer, the raper, the drug dealer … we believe those people should be deported,” Contreras said.

“We’re talking about the migrant worker who has joined in a coalition with the American farmer,” she added.

Georgia farmers recently complained about a labor shortage, saying the new law has scared away workers they depend on, even before it goes into effect.

But Phil Kent, of Americans for Immigration Control, says there is an underutilized but legal solution.

“There is a legal H2A visa program. There’s no ceiling on these visas,” he said.

“We can get as many foreign workers as we want if we can’t hire American citizens,” Kent added.

But one south Georgia farmer who spoke to Channel 2 Action News says he’s used the program in the past, but that has gotten only half of the workers he requested, and at a higher cost.

Kent believes the H2A program works.

“I challenge these farmers to use H2A and if they have to pay a few dollars more, that’s the price of upholding the rule of law,” he said.

Meanwhile, the status of the new law remains in limbo.

It’s set to go into effect July 1, but a federal judge is weighing whether to delay it while a lawsuit over the law’s constitutionality is settled.

Source and video report: WSBTV.com, “Farmers Petition To Get Immigration Law Rescinded” 22 Jun 2011.

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