Businesses, Politicians at Odds Over Alabama's Immigration Law


Baldwin County farmer Donnie Waters says replacing migrant workers with Alabamians hasn't been easy.

"They're not very efficient at all."

Waters says he's lost dozens of Hispanic workers since the immigration law went into effect and has been forced to use work release inmates to plant and pick crops because he can't find locals willing to work.

"We've had quite a few applications, but they don't want to work," he says. "They're doing that so they can tell the unemployment office they're seeking a job."

But Alabama Senator Scott Beason is telling a different story. Beason, who sponsored the immigration bill,-credits the law for putting more Alabamians to work. He referred to the falling unemployment rate, which fell from 9.8 percent to 7.2 percent since the law went into effect, as an example.

But Donnie Waters isn't buying it.

"They talk about the unemployment being so much lower," Waters said. "Well, it's taking 15 people to do what eight used to do so figure the numbers. He's looking at it from his side, and I'm looking at it from mine. He needs to come out here and work with these people, and he'll see the difference, and he can tell why we want a good labor force."

Phyllis Pearson is also having a hard time finding workers.

"It takes an awful lot more Americans to get the same job done," she said. "In six months, I've gone through 150 people already."

Pearson, who owns a condo cleaning business, says although she supports legal U.S. citizenship, the immigration law has put a choke hold on her hiring capabilities.

"Migrants are hard workers. Americans are as well, but it takes four or five more that a foreign worker would do."

Many people say politicians in both Washington and Montgomery are out of touch with small business owners regarding the immigration law and want lawmakers to cut some of the red tape and make it easier for foreign workers to obtain visas or U.S. citizenship.

Senator Beason's office in Montgomery did not respond to a request for an interview.

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  • by SouthernPatriot Location: Dothan on Jul 3, 2012 at 07:15 AM
    If we did not have so many lazy Americans in this country, we would not have a problem with illegal immigrants. There was a time when Americans would work ANY job to help pay the bills or put food on the table. Now if it doesn't offer medical, dental and a pension plan, many Americans are not interested. It's easier to sit at home, watch a reality show, play X-Box and draw a government check.
  • by Bunny Location: Dothan on Jun 29, 2012 at 04:56 AM
    I think ole farmer Waters is just mad because now he's gonna have to actually shell out decent money to have people work for him. If you hire illegal workers, you're gonna have consequences. I guess he thinks he should be exempt from the law. He doesn't care about those people, all he cares about is CHEAP labor, so he can have more money in his own pocket. The only people whining about these immigration laws are either illegal, have illegal family members here, or have something to gain from them being here.
  • by Thinking on Jun 28, 2012 at 08:30 PM
    Farmers can ask politicians for prisoners to pick crops. Illegal immigrants drain the state's resources. Farmer's surely have other options. Illegal is illegal. Do what immigrants have done for centuries. Take the citizenship test to become a LEGAL citizen and stop complaining.
  • by lindsey quiroz Location: United States on Jun 22, 2012 at 09:46 PM
    In the world today, a young lady who does not have a college education just is not educated. Especially with our busy life who has time but look for High Speed Universities for faster education at your leisure
  • by Joey Location: Ozark on Jun 22, 2012 at 05:59 PM
    Of course criminals who want to stay in hiding will work harder and for less money. The people that hire the illegals should be punished too. They are just as wrong as the ones they hired.
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