Discord Growing In Alabama over Immigration Law
Farmers, contractors and other businesspeople are worried about the future in Alabama. The new strict law on immigration in the state has caused the exodus of many undocumented immigrants. Farmers in the state are worried they will not have migrant workers to pick their crops and the crops will rot in the fields. Building contractors have long used undocumented workers and are worried they will not have the work force needed to build new projects.
One tomato farmer said he was only planting two thirds of his 30 acres otherwise the fruit will rot and he will go out of business. Another farmer planted even less, just 12 of 25 acres. Many are worried the time will come to harvest and immigration services will come and round up what few workers dare to come and work.
The law, similar to the Arizona immigration law, requires local and state law enforcement officials to verify immigration status on all the people they suspect may be illegally in the U.S. What the law has succeeded in doing is allowing Alabama to find out if can function economically without any undocumented immigrants. The number of illegal immigrants in the state was estimated to be between 120,000 and 150,000 in 2010.
The law in Alabama also requires state officials to be more vigilant about people they believe are illegal. The law is considered the most comprehensive immigration law in the U.S. It contains nearly everything a state can include to discourage illegal immigration.
Local surveys have shown that tens of thousands of undocumented workers have opted to leave the state, and those surveys have been supported by politicians, employers and the undocumented workers themselves.