Geography Education
1.1M views | +196 today
Scooped by Seth Dixon
onto Geography Education!

After Alabama Immigration Law, Few Americans Taking Immigrants' Work

After Alabama Immigration Law, Few Americans Taking Immigrants' Work | Geography Education |
ONEONTA, Ala. -- Potato farmer Keith Smith saw most of his immigrant workers leave after Alabama's tough immigration law took effect, so he hired Americans.


Geography is all about the interconnected of themes and places.  This issue in Alabama is displaying these interconnections quite vividly.  Economics, immigration, culture, politics and agriculture are intensely intertwined in this issue.   

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, January 29, 2014 9:57 AM

This is another article that highlights the skill deficit in this country.  People seem to be afraid of doing hard work and would rather do nothing then work hard to learn this skill.  If it were a choice between no job and this type of job people would take the jobs but the third choice of unemployment payments makes people who might do these jobs decide not to.  As long as they are paid more to not work then work, they will not do the jobs that need workers.  The farmer made a good point that a skilled picker can make $200-$300 a day but an unskilled worker doing the job makes only $24 a day.  The work ethic of this country needs to be changed, young people today do not want to work hard or put in the effort.  When farmers can no longer get workers how long will it be before there is a food problem as well as a worker problem in this country.  It is possible to make a good living doing these types of jobs but not as long as people feel the work is beneath them or they are unwilling to do the hard manual labor required to do the job well.

Louis Mazza's curator insight, January 28, 12:26 PM

i see this as a very good law. America is on the verge of recovering from an economic recession and the United States can benefit from every job given to a natural born american citizen. i do see the problems that a  farmer can have such as receiving a decline in profits if they must pay more for the product. in the article the farmers also say that Americans just do not work like seasoned Hispanics and production is way down. another looming problem that the Americans have is that they are slow, and want to call it a day after lunch, and expect to get paid more. 

Kendra King's curator insight, February 2, 5:36 PM

As the title implies, this is about how Americans are not cut out for doing intensive farming jobs because the workers just quit quickly. A few politicians mentioned in the story, Governor Robert Bentley and Senator Scott Beason, said they received thank you messages from constituents who found work. This was supposed to be evidence of Americans benefitting from jobs that immigrants took, but I would love to know how many of those people actually stayed with the job. Furthermore, I find it a bit too suspicious that none of the people wanted to speak with the press as the author mentioned or that the names just weren’t given. I am more inclined to believe the owners of the famers mentioned in the article, who said they can’t keep Americans on their site happy due to lack of pay and benefits. Mind you now it wasn’t just one owner who said this either. I think this is telling as well because the owners are the individuals who best know the industry as they work it every day.


From the farmers perspective the new law is now a huge problem that could also affected consumers. They lost steady “Hispanics with experience,” who they knew could handle the work. For some farmers, according to the article, has made it so the produce is left on the vine rotting because it isn’t picked. So in essence, what the Arizona law just did was harm agriculture and the buyers too because if enough of that food perishes the price will go up. Now I can understand a state being aggravated over illegal immigration (it is a serious problem that is nowhere close to being solved), but to pass a law with these kinds of economic ramifications isn’t really helping the situation much either. As much as people hate to admit it, our economy needs immigrants from Mexico for our agriculture sector to work. It is just a little known fact.


The new law isn’t the only law at issue in this article. Connie Horner of Georgia tried to legally hire workers through the government’s visa program. She soon found it is too costly for her to do and too time consuming, so instead Ms. Horner is turning to machines. The fact that visas are that hard to attain for workers is also part of the reason the immigrants come illegally. Rather than spending more money to watch the boarder how about the government figure out a way for the bureaucracy of the immigration process to move quicker. This isn’t an issue of 2011 either when the article was written. Listening to the news, I have heard farmers complain about the visa program for years. No wonder immigrants come over illegally and then citizens get angry at these people. Really, American’s should be more annoyed with their government’s ineffective stance on boarder control. 

Geography Education
Digital resources to strengthen the quality and quantity of geography education in classrooms the world over.
Curated by Seth Dixon