Rotten Law Produces Rotten Tomatoes

October 7, 2011

AP photo
The United States Department of Justice filed an appeal with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to stay Alabama's cruel immigration law. The law allows schools to identify students' immigration status, allows for the state can nullify contracts between an undocumented alien and another party including landlords.  The law also imposes fines for those who pick up migrants for day labor or "church purposes." The law requires aliens to carry documentation at all times and prohibits anyone who is illegally in the United States from applying for a driver's license, business license, license plate or any other license. Suspected illegal immigrants can be detained.

On Monday 7 out of every 100 Hispanic children or an estimated 2,000 Hispanic students stayed out of school. The American Federation of Teachers condemned the mean-spirited law that is keeping students away from school.

A utility company in Alabama posted a notice stating that the company is prohibited by Alabama's new law from providing water service to undocumented aliens.

Alabama's economy is dependent on agriculture, which is dependent on migrant workers. The new law is driving the workers from the state. It has been reported that tomatoes, squash and other crops are rotting in the fields as the migrant farm workers have packed up and left the state. The agriculture commissioner plans to use work-released prisoners to replace the farmers. It's not likely the plan will work.

The same problem has plagued Georgia, another state that adopted strict anti-immigrant laws that go after illegal immigrants and anyone who harbors them. The state also saw an exodus of needed farm workers and attempted to solve the problem with probationers. The agriculture industry reported a $140 million for the state's spring and summer crop losses.

On October 5, 2011, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported:
Proponents of the law say it will prevent illegal immigrants from taking jobs away from U.S. citizens. But farmers contend many U.S. citizens won’t pick fruits and vegetables on their fields because the work is hot and physically demanding. So, many of these producers hire Hispanic migrant workers, and many of them are in the country illegally. 
...Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black summarized more results from the pilot program Tuesday while testifying before a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Boarder Security. One farmer who participated in that program found the probationers to be half as productive as his other workers, Black said in written testimony. Another farmer found only 15 to 20 reliable workers out of 104 probationers.

“There were some obvious challenges with using probation labor,” Black said, “and the two producers found that the probationers were unable to harvest at the same rate as the other workers. At the end of the day, both producers agreed that the program had potential to meet the niche needs for farmers desperate for workers.”

Black told the subcommittee another way the government could help deal Georgia’s farm labor shortage is through a new and improved guest worker program. Many farmers complain the existing federal H-2A program is plagued with red tape.
Georgia's solution? Black suggests that the state create a state guest worker program that meets the requirements of the federal government. Imagine trying to oversee 50 or more state-run guest worker programs. The federal one is screaming for reform.

Alabama has an estimated 185,000 aliens or about 4% of the population. The crop losses show how undocumented immigrants impact the economy.

The farmers are furious about the new law and say they will be out of business by next year. From Think Progress Justice:
Farmers have every reason to be angry — many of them say that because of Beason’s law they’ll be out of business by next year. Chad Smith said his family would normally have 12 trucks working the fields on Monday, but only had the workers for three. “The tomatoes are rotting on the vine, and there is very little we can do,” he said, estimating that his family could lose up to $150,000 this season. Likewise, Lana Boatwright said she and her husband had used the same crews for more than a decade, but only eight of the 48 workers they needed showed up after the law took effect. 
Americans for Immigration Reform predicted in 2008 that if all undocumented immigrants were removed from Alabama, the state would lose $2.6 billion in economic activity, $1.1 billion in gross state products, and approximately 17,819 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time. Experts estimate that around 75 percent of the nation’s seasonal agricultural workers are unauthorized immigrants. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 95,000 unauthorized immigrants worked in Alabama in 2009 and 2010, making up about 4.2 percent of the labor force.
In addition to farm workers, construction workers and roofers are also be driven away. It is estimated that up to 1/4 of the construction workers have left the state since the law was implemented.

The phrase, "You reap what you sow" may apply to these anti-immigrant states that can look forward to migrant workers, both documented and undocumented leaving their states and taking the states' economies with them. It may also apply to the CNMI or any other place in the U.S. where needed foreign laborers are treated as disposable commodities. Toss something away and you might not find a replacement down the road.


Anonymous said...

President Obama appeals tough new Alabama immigration law/undocumented migrants
How about us Mr. President ? CNMI long term legal alien documented workers.
Are these 47 congressmen who sponsored the HR-1466 are they serious and honest in making good immigration laws ?
United States Ambassador to the United Nation, calling justice to the Syrian people to exercise Democratic form of government, not only Syria also Libya.
But us, long term legal aliens here in CNMI, we don't feel justice, it's one factor of Democratic country "JUSTICE"
It is good these 47 congressmen come face to face with Miss Rice the US ambassador to U.N.
and talk how can they convince the whole world. Here in CNMI small problem,regarding legal aliens the United States cannot fix fairly.

Anonymous said...

Misleading. Yes, migrant workers do most of the menial labor like picking fruit. They're also an incredible strain on the States' welfare programs often getting free medical care and free education at the cost of the US tax payer. You can't have it both ways: worship the Federal government then demand illegal aliens be left alone. Not gonna happen.

Anonymous said...

as per human being you cant find what u have and when they left.each person is should treat also them unique way.once one left you cant find like him.any way its about life.USA must stop free greencard program.because citizen dont like fair things.USA citizen dont like another people(workers) its an discrimination as per on the air.if you hate another then you should work hard.stop inter fear in someone life.stay on your country dont go another county to bother them. amen.

Anonymous said...

6:10 The CNMI is an incredible drain on the US economy because it just takes money and the citizens don't pay federal taxes The migrant workers pay taxes and contribute to the economy as every study has shown. Migrant workers are not eligible for welfare.

Anonymous said...

8:17 pm
Spot on! we contributed long years by paying tax more than they are contributing but still up to now after more than 20 yrs most of us still hanging and still they don't accept that? is it called greedy?

Anonymous said...

Read this because this is what will happen in the CNMi after Sablan and Fitial get rid of the legal OCWs and leave the jobs for locals to do. Locals won't take the menial labor jobs that we do. They get the US dollars as food stamps and other handouts so why work if they get what they need for free. They don't got the pride to work. You will see.

Anonymous said...

Why didn't Obama and USDOJ sue CNMI labor law? Coz the US don't care about the NMI. Too far and too unimportant. This should clue in people what to expect with fed GW program. NOTHING!

Anonymous said...

Maybe if ALL of the CW were to be able to unite and not go to work for a couple of days,and someone was to send that to CNN and Fox news along with other mainland newspapers they might get noticed in DC (and NMI)and many would see just how much the different trades would be affected.
The same thing in the NMI, no US Cit. will do much of the work.
Hotels, shops, checkout,janitorial etc.
The problem with that plan is so many are afraid of their job and there are so many out of work, it would be so easy to fill any spots.
The whole NMI from Govt. to private sector has all of the workers intimidated and controlled.

Tony P wants to build an airline around Agriculture.
This won't happen in the NMI unless there are more farmers brought in and they are treated well and paid.
Many of these farms pay their farmers by giving them produce and it's up to them to travel around and sell it to get money for their work.
This has been going on since the beginning.
It is also against NMI law as they have to have a license.
Years ago they even outlawed the CW from selling the boonie peppers and fish.
The store were not allowed to buy from them.

Anonymous said...

Tony P. fired most of his alien workers, co'z his Saipan Ice business doing good now. He hired locals to replace alien muscles...
We just watch him, if he's going to do an agricultural business, then hire locals muscle to do farming.
I feel sorry for all contract workers who are fired. I hope no more alien worker gonna work for his airline business... Look at the pattern. Alien Worker looks disposable.

Green Cards for All! said...

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Terrified by Alabama's strict new immigration crackdown, parents living in the state illegally say they are doing something that was unthinkable just days ago — asking friends, relatives, co-workers and acquaintances to take their children if they're arrested or deported.

Many illegal immigrants signed documents in the past week allowing others to care for their children if needed, assistance groups say, and a couple living illegally in nearby Shelby County extracted a promise from the man's boss to send their three young children — all U.S. citizens — to Mexico should they be jailed under the law.

* * * *

Social worker Jazmin Rivera helps dozens of Spanish-speaking immigrants fill out paperwork weekly, and many are now seeking legal documents called powers of attorney so friends and others could care for their children.

"People are scared, and they want to be sure their kids are safe if something happens to them," said Rivera, a case manager at the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama.

Jay Reeves, “Immigrants fearing deportation make plans for kids,” Associated Press, Sunday, October 9, 2010, available at

Anonymous said...

Maybe time the CW start some kind of "Coalition" to insure some kind of protection for their children in case they are also picked up by Immigration later on.
In the case of minor children, if no one was available to take care, then the children would most likely be referred to some kind of Govt. protective service agency or foster care.
If the children have relatives in their home country then maybe advanced arrangements may be made in case of the worse case scenario.
But the fact still remains, as is the case with illegals in the US, the Fed Judge has a free hand and a wide range of options in dealing with these cases involving minor children being separated from their parents.
A judge may rule based on compassionate circumstances.

Anonymous said...

I Pray the truth will prevail.what's right is right, what's wrong is wrong.
Hope U.S. congress will explain to us long term alien workers in CNMI, the difference between legal alien and illegal alien.
No problem in going home as long we are satisfied with their explanation and we will know the truth.
And where we gonna get the ticket going home, our employer no money to buy ticket but he has money to buy betel nut and popolo for his nganga. And not legible to apply CW for contract worker
I don't want to be deported, I'm law abiding citizen, only the law of CNMI (the final regulations from DHS) and Kilili resolution the HR 1466, make me illegal,
"Because he doesn't know what to Do"
They forgot already what they said during a rally across Christo Rai Church Rally, for long term alien workers.
They said to SECURE and make a RESOLUTION in U.S. congress.

Anonymous said...

There is a H2-visa available for farmers who need season workers. The problem is that they must pay a certain wage and if they offer housing, it must be up to certain standards. They would also have to show they attempted to recruit U.S. workers. Farmers would much rather hire illegal workers than deal with high turnover from U.S. probationers (criminals) and immature teenagers. H2-visa workers can apply for driver's licenses, and bring their children legally the U.S. for school.

I worked on a farm as a youth, and my parents did as well. We need to push our local youth and unemployed to start working at age 14 and 15 (during the summer) on farms to build charactor and a lifelong work ethic.

Anonymous said...

CNMI courts are courts of general jurisdiction; federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Normally there would be no reason for a federal court to be involved with the custody of U.S. citizen children of guest workers departing the Commonwealth. If they remain here, the Superior Court family court would handle such cases with DYS & OAG input.

Anonymous said...

Hope I'm wrong but it looks as if those two workers appear to be peeing on that tomatoe field!!!!