In Alabama, farmers are having to downsize or let their crops die in the field because American workers are simply too unskilled or unwilling to do the work normally done by Hispanics. Alabama’s law drove many immigrants — even legal ones fearing persecution — out of the state, and farmers are having trouble finding workers to harvest their crops.
When PPR wrote about the unintended consequences suffered by states with similar laws, we implored South Carolina to hold off on implementing the draconian immigration law before it ends up hurting the industries and workers it’s supposed to help. According to an article by the Southeastern Farm Press, however, it may already be too late:
A Charleston County vegetable grower says he ended up burning 25 percent of his 80-acre tomato crop, because he had no labor for hand picking. “I could have used 300 pickers,” he says. “I had 40. These people don’t cause any trouble — they just come here to work.”
United South Carolina, a blog run by the Appleseed Legal Justice Center which has been fighting South Carolina’s immigration law from the beginning, commented that “it looks like farmers have woken up to the threat that ‘show me your papers’ legislation poses to their livelihoods.” But many of those farmers are reluctant to discuss the situation, according to the article, because they fear being investigated for using migrant laborers.
The tourism industry is not immune from these residual effects either, according to FITSNews, which means the state’s two biggest industries are being crippled by a bureaucracy-laden law that is damaging South Carolina’s small businesses. Given the clear precedent for the negative effects immigration laws such as ours have on states that pass them, it makes you wonder whether South Carolina’s leaders care more about passing their ideologically driven agenda than they do about helping the state’s economy and its workers.