Illegal immigration law worries South Carolina farmers

  • Follow Business

COLUMBIA — Some say that South Carolina’s new illegal-immigration law is already putting a chill on the state’s supply of immigrant farm labor.

Gary Spires, the director of the government relations of the S.C. Farm Bureau, said he has been receiving reports that the state’s new so-called Arizona-style illegal-immigration law has had an effect on legal immigrant workers.

Spires said an ornamental grower in Charleston County lost two longtime legal immigrant workers, whom he had assumed would stay with him until they retired, just before the Legislature passed S. 20 and signed by Gov. Nikki Haley signed it into law at the end of June.

“They said ‘we’re going home,’ and that, ‘we’re worried we’ll be getting stopped,’ ” Spires said.

“We started having labor shortages with tomato crop this year and specialty crops like blueberries,” he said.

The law requires law enforcement to check the immigration status of someone who had been arrested for an unrelated reason, if the officer suspects the person is in the country illegally. South Carolina’s law, effective in January, is similar to Georgia’s but requires the creation of a specialized police unit.

The Hispanic population increased 148 percent in the past 10 years, according to the U.S. Census. Hispanics make up 5.1 percent of South Carolina and are mostly of Mexican origin.

William Henderson, a Clemson University agent in Edgefield County, said he was not aware of those effects and that its impact might yet to be realized.

“This is a new law and impact may not be seen until next year,” said Henderson. “At any rate, it will require more documentation and tracking to the grower which means higher costs.”

On Tuesday, a subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing titled, “America’s Agricultural Labor Crisis: Enacting a Practical Solution.”

Witnesses included Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black; Tom Nassif, the president and CEO of Western Growers in Salinas, Calif.; Robert A. Smith, the senior vice president of Farm Credit East in Cobleskill, N.Y., and Connie Horner, the president of Horner Farms, Inc. of Homerville, Ga., according to materials from U.S. Senate staff.

On Tuesday, The Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association released a study that estimates a $391 million loss related to the shortage of agricultural workers. According to the study, 5,244 seasonal harvester jobs were vacant during the 2011 harvest season, the equivalent of 572 full-time jobs.

Comments (21) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
seenitB4
98515
Points
seenitB4 10/07/11 - 07:28 am
0
0
A 2 edge sword...so what is

A 2 edge sword...so what is the answer...Americans need jobs but won't work at these....& as long as the freebies come they never will...sooooo
here we are on a merry-go-round..will someone make a decision in the Federal government that will make sense.

belle
311
Points
belle 10/07/11 - 07:52 am
0
0
I don't understand the
Unpublished

I don't understand the problem....don't we have legal processes to allow these workers to apply for work visas? Also, they are only concerned that if they break the law they will be deported. So....don't break the law?

blmartin77
0
Points
blmartin77 10/07/11 - 08:15 am
0
0
The best solution is the get

The best solution is the get the prisoners into the fields to do the work at no charge to the farmers. The farmers won't have to pay for the labor and food prices may come down and prisoners can finally begin doing something to help out society instead of draining society. Lock em up on a chain gang and if one even thinks of running pop them with a tazer or fill em with lead.

belle
311
Points
belle 10/07/11 - 09:09 am
0
0
blmartin.....great idea!
Unpublished

blmartin.....great idea! Then they could also gift the prisoners with some of the crops to improve their food situation...

Little Lamb
49247
Points
Little Lamb 10/07/11 - 09:36 am
0
0
Sarita Chourey wrote: Some

Sarita Chourey wrote:

Some say that South Carolina’s new illegal-immigration law is already putting a chill on the state’s supply of immigrant farm labor.

I thought that was the whole point.

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 10/07/11 - 10:03 am
0
0
The point is, even if you are

The point is, even if you are legal, who wants to get stopped and questioned all the time. They would rather go to a worker friendly state. Immigrants are the most mobile of people, so it doesnt really matter to them where they are. Have fun with produce prices after this... provide prisoners to farmers for free? Why? Do they not already get enough subsidy?

belle
311
Points
belle 10/07/11 - 10:39 am
0
0
Taylor B...according to the
Unpublished

Taylor B...according to the article, the law states they can check immigration status ONLY if they are arrested....not because they look suspiciously alien........

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 10/07/11 - 11:06 am
0
0
Yea, something sounds pretty

Yea, something sounds pretty fishy with the two so called "legal" workers quitting over fear of being stopped. Whyisthat? If you get checked for another reason and you have a legal work permit, where is the rub? As far as the farmers boo-hooing; they've taken advantage of illegal, cheap labor for a long, long, time.It is time for everybody to "man up" and pay for legal workers. I would happily pay 20% more for peaches and lettuce if it meant having a LEGAL migrant workforce picking them.

Asitisinaug
4
Points
Asitisinaug 10/07/11 - 02:38 pm
0
0
What is new here? Farmers

What is new here? Farmers want cheap, hardworking, non-union, employees where they don't have to pay workers comp, payroll taxes, etc. Basically the same as all of those "evil" corporations that take jobs overseas due to our over regulations in America.

How about overhauling our idiotic welfare system - Go and get one of the jobs posted (there are still plenty, even if you don't like doing that type of work) or be assigned a daily work detail for the government cleaning up areas or even working on the farms if need be and if you elect not to do so, fail to show up, etc. then you don't get paid.

This "extend the benefits" mentality of our current administration is absurd. We are rewarding negative behavior and punishing law abiding hard working Americans through higher taxes and fewer benefits.

etlinks
24683
Points
etlinks 10/07/11 - 03:27 pm
0
0
When I was a high school

When I was a high school student the thing to do was work in the peach packing sheds or in the fields in South Carolina during summer break. Extra spending money and understand the value of a dollar. What happened along the way?

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 10/07/11 - 04:41 pm
0
0
etlinks, like you, I picked

etlinks, like you, I picked cotton in the summers as long as my grandfather farmed from the age of six. I'm sure that I didn't really earn all that he paid me for, but I will never forget the pride and confidence I felt, when he took me with him to the market and I received my pay along with his real workers. It was such a great experience.

Bruno
780
Points
Bruno 10/07/11 - 07:44 pm
0
0
Worry all you want. They are

Worry all you want. They are still illegal and thus criminals.

david jennings
625
Points
david jennings 10/07/11 - 08:52 pm
0
0
I live in the area of Barton

I live in the area of Barton Chapel and traverse the nieghborhood streets daily.For the last month I have noticed a utility crew working installing infrastructure for Knology cable service in the area.The crew is all Hispanic workers,about ten men.
Any hour of the day I see young men,obviously not in school or employed walking the streets holding thier trousers up between thier waist and knees with one hand,get the picture?
While I totally believe immigrants should be legal,and these workers probably are,I cant ignore what I see with my own two eyes.These guys are not leaning on thier shovels,they are constantly working with shovels and picks waist deep in ditches all day long,until 6.00 oclock pm.
I have also worked side by side with these same people and learned they mostly are good people that only want to work and make an honest living.They also respected me I think because I have always worked with my hands all of my life and I didnt mind working beside them and I didnt mind taking my lunch with them and conversing with the ones who spoke English,in fact I felt they had learned two languages and I only know one.
Not advocating illegal immigration just giving credit where it is deserved.I dont know the answer to our immigrant situation but I have to respect hard work and responsibility.Also I got to know some of these men and they have wives,children,parents and loved ones here and in thier native countries,didnt abuse alcohol or do drugs.

Techfan
6462
Points
Techfan 10/08/11 - 05:22 am
0
0
"The best solution is the get

"The best solution is the get the prisoners into the fields to do the work at no charge to the farmers" WOW, just like China!

Ugly American
0
Points
Ugly American 10/08/11 - 05:53 am
0
0
If the farmers are truly

If the farmers are truly worried, it would probably be a good idea for them to start running some ads looking for American workers. Unlike the ads they were previously running, these will have to be in English.
The major barrier that kept Americans out of these jobs before was the "must speak Spanish" requirement.
There were never "jobs Americans won't do". There were just jobs that unregistered foreigners didn't want us to do. As much as they would like us to need them, we don't need foreign nationals who decided that their desires were more important than our laws.

stevo1
0
Points
stevo1 10/08/11 - 07:13 am
0
0
When did we lose our common

When did we lose our common sense? Our Government, has allowed the invasion of 30 million criminals in direct violation of Article IV, Section IV of our Constitution. they force American tax payers to pay Billions to provide Welfare, Prison cells, Educate the invaders children, free medical care,massive document fraud, & are destroying our schools, hospitals, communities, culture while Robbing, Raping, Killing & Assaulting American Citizens WE ARE BEING INVADED! WAKE UP PEOPLE!
An education is a good thing.

step #1 http://bit.ly/oBuTUd
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NVT7lyNRZQ&feature=player_embedded
www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsH8xvjTAlo
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Btj6IeOFkis&feature=player_embedded
http://immigrationcounters.com/
http://ojjpac.org/memorial.asp
www.immigrationshumancost.org/
www.newswithviews.com/Wooldridge/frosty580.htm
www.youtube.com/watch?v=muw22wTePqQ
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/07/02/immigration-costs-fair-amnesty-educ...
http://www.rense.com/general81/dtli.htm
http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=41045
http://www.cairco.org/econ/econ.html
http://www.diggersrealm.com/mt/archives/003335.html
Every Non-representative including obama and holder are not upholding the oath of office! they swore to defend the Constitution! If these clowns were to do their job, this would all be a Moot point!
Anchors and their criminal parents go, period, you knew you were breaking the law when you crossed the border.

Next shut down any business hiring illegal labor. Oh and owners go to jail.
Got a better idea? Lets hear it!

Ushouldnthave
0
Points
Ushouldnthave 10/08/11 - 09:02 am
0
0
9.1 % unemployment in this

9.1 % unemployment in this country. Get these people sitting around drawing benefits off their duffs and hire them for the harvest season. Solves several problems. The one that prevents it is that Americans are lazy and above that type of work.

Delawarebob
0
Points
Delawarebob 10/08/11 - 09:05 am
0
0
The Federal Government has

The Federal Government has created this problem by not enforcing our immigration laws. What we have to do is get mandatory E-Verify passed. There will be a bill attached that will allow farmers to bring in migrant workers LEGALLY for 10 mionths to work the farms. After 10 months they MUST return back to their own country. I can live with that.
Illegal aliens are destroying this country. The illegal aliens who don't have our jobs are using this country as a welfare country with their anchor babies, (illegal alien children). I stand with Alabama, Arizona, Oklahoma, Georgia and every other state is cracking down on the illegal aliens. Illegal aliens have NO RIGHT to be in this country.

http://www.irishcentral.com/story/news/from-the-right/57-of-immigrants-i...

http://www.newsmax.com/JamesWalsh/Illegal-Aliens-IRS-Tax/2011/09/23/id/4...

http://www.lvrj.com/news/more-illegal-immigrants-getting-emergency-treat...

Any questions?

grandpappygreenthumb
0
Points
grandpappygreenthumb 10/08/11 - 09:17 am
0
0
One solution...Require all

One solution...Require all welfare recipients to work off their welfare plus a wage for doing so. As it is why work when the government will support them.

JRC2024
10533
Points
JRC2024 10/08/11 - 10:17 am
0
0
I agree with the stipulation

I agree with the stipulation that to get welfare you must work at anything that needs doing. There would then be pleanty of people to do those jobs. Try to hire some of the people that david.jennings talks about and they will laugh in your face and if they work it will only be for a very very short time and you have to watch them like a hawk. Hire a Mexican and treat him or her right and they will give you a honest days work and do a good job. Just ask anyone in the construction business.

JRC2024
10533
Points
JRC2024 10/08/11 - 10:19 am
0
0
techfan, what is wrong with

techfan, what is wrong with making prisoners work. We owe them nothing and they owe the law abiding citizen pentance for their crimes. I don't cry too much over them being in prison, especially those that murder.

shrimp for breakfast
5641
Points
shrimp for breakfast 10/08/11 - 02:37 pm
0
0
I don't know about anyone

I don't know about anyone else but I never EVER read links that people post to back up their comments.

As for my opinion on this atricle all I can say is I agree with seenitb4. It is most certainly a double edged sword.

soyamericana
0
Points
soyamericana 12/08/11 - 10:48 am
0
0
As soon as you post a link

As soon as you post a link from Fox News, your argument becomes invalid. The exclamation points aren't helping either.

For every century in America there is a large group of immigrants who are hated simply because they're new and unknown. It was the Irish at one point, the Italians, Jews, Eastern Europeans; the list goes on. We are a country of immigrants. Unless you're a full-blooded Native American, you PROBABLY have an illegal alien ancestor somewhere in your lineage. Get off your high horse and remember that in reality, we're all human beings and we all, according to our Constitution, deserve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. (The Constitution doesn't say those rights are "only for citizens with all their paperwork in order.")

Riverman1
94246
Points
Riverman1 12/08/11 - 10:52 am
0
0
SoyAmericana, I doubt the

SoyAmericana, I doubt the Constitution was intended for citizens of other countries.

Back to Top
loading...
Top headlines

Stormwater fee to fund Columbia County repairs

Columbia County is set to invest an additional $600,000 in its aging stormwater system next year, with the hope that more money and manpower will result in half as many repair orders and fewer ...
Search Augusta jobs