South Carolina and Georgia are two of the states that passed tough immigration laws in recent years. However, according to a study of farmers in Georgia, the laws have not been very effective at keeping illegal workers out of that state. The study revealed that while many undocumented farm workers left the state temporarily after the laws were put into effect, many of the workers returned after enforcement of the laws eased up.
The survey was conducted by the Georgia Department of Agriculture and reveled that farmers reported missing more than 11,000 workers in the state during their spring and summer harvests in 2011. But in the years since then, it appears that the farmers are no longer lacking workers in the same high numbers, suggesting that many undocumented workers have returned to the state.
This issue alone highlights the complicated nature of the current immigration laws in the country. In many states, including South Carolina and Georgia, farmers are very dependent on seasonal workers to keep up with the demands of the harvests. Additionally, it appears that a hard-and-fast law like the ones adopted in South Carolina and Georgia are not effective at keeping undocumented workers out of the state when there are jobs available to them.
As states attempt to enforce their own immigration laws, Congress is currently considering widespread immigration reform that could potentially grant lawful permanent residency status to many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants that are believed to be living in the country at this time. Many in support of the reform argue that it is necessary to address this very complex issue.
So far, an immigration reform bill has passed the U.S. Senate, but it is facing a much tougher battle in the House of Representatives.
Source: WCTV.com, "Tough GA Immigration Law May Not Be Working," Greg Gullberg, July 7, 2013