In Georgia the recent passage of House Bill 87 has prompted illegal immigrant workers to leave the state. Many of these people were among the very most productive farm workers. These workers are now helping to harvest crops in adjoining states which don’t have such stringent anti-immigrant statutes. A lot of the farmers in Georgia complained that their products were rotting in the fields and on the trees.
In response to this dilemma, state officials proposed a solution. They initiated a program where those recently paroled from prision (most of whom cannot find jobs) would pick the crops that used to be harvested by illegal immigrants. However, farmers have reported that the typical illegal alien worker harvested six times more than the recent parolee during the same time period.
Some critics may say that ex prisoners are just lazy and unmotivated. In contrast, most migrant farm workers are highly motivated even though their compensation is modest at best. There is another factor that is overlooked in this discussion. In reality, most of these migrant workers have a conditioned athlete’s stamina and endurance. There are very few people in our society who could match these qualities without going through a rigorous physical training program.
Some immigrants are much more productive than others. It’s foolish and counterproductive to ask the most productive ones to leave the country. We have to provide a system to reward those who enhance the well being of our economy. It was not the intent of the law to damage the economy, but once again the government has made decisions which have had repercussions that it did not anticipate.
I am a proponent of population growth as well as having a coherent immigration policy. According to one of my most important mentors, Dr. David Schwartz, author of the perennial best seller The Magic of Thinking Big, population growth is the most important factor in the growth of our economy.