Tag Archives: Immigrants

Georgia’s Harsh Immigration Law Costs Millions in Unharvested Crops

God forbid, a White Person pick a crop in Georgia!  That’s unheard of!  What were the Republicans in the Georgia Legislature thinking?

Oh, I should know by now not to use the words “thinking” and “Republican” in the same sentence…

Still, It’s really scary to see the results when the GOP actually gets to put their plans in action…

People really should realize by now that “Friends Don’t Let Friends Vote Republican.”

That is, if they want a job and a home tomorrow and don’t want to eat cat food in their old age…

Or now, if they want food in the Grocery Store….

From Megan McArdle in The Atlantic:

Jay Bookman provides some unsurprising news about Georgia’s illegal immigration crackdown: there are unintended, negative consequences.

After enacting House Bill 87, a law designed to drive illegal immigrants out of Georgia, state officials appear shocked to discover that HB 87 is, well, driving a lot of illegal immigrants out of Georgia…

Thanks to the resulting labor shortage, Georgia farmers have been forced to leave millions of dollars’ worth of blueberries, onions, melons and other crops unharvested and rotting in the fields. It has also put state officials into something of a panic at the damage they’ve done to Georgia’s largest industry….

The results of that investigation have now been released. According to survey of 230 Georgia farmers conducted by Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, farmers expect to need more than 11,000 workers at some point over the rest of the season, a number that probably underestimates the real need, since not every farmer in the state responded to the survey.

The economics here aren’t particularly complicated, and I’m sure they won’t be new to the sophisticated readers of the Atlantic, but they are useful to look at and consider explicitly when thinking about issues like this.

It goes like this. If you’re not going to let illegal immigrants do the jobs they are currently being hired to do, then farmers will have to raise wages to replace them. Since farmers are taking a risk in hiring immigrant workers, you can bet they were getting a significant deal on wage costs relative to “market wages”. I put market wages here in quotations, because it’s quite possible that the wages required to get workers to do the job are so high that it’s no longer profitable for farmers to plant the crops in the first place.

via Georgia’s Harsh Immigration Law Costs Millions in Unharvested Crops – Megan McArdle – Business – The Atlantic.

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The Triangle Shirt Waist Company Fire: 100 Years Ago This Week

March 25th is the 100th Anniversary of one of the saddest events in U.S. labor history, the Triangle Shirt Waist Company Fire.  Some say this tragedy had the biggest impact on New York of any event until 9/11.

This story has always resonated with me.  It’s so said that all these young women, mostly recent immigrants, died so tragically.  Mainly, because the doors were locked and they couldn’t escape down the stairs.  Many jumped to their death.

This event led to many changes in public safety and labor laws.  It’s a reminder that laws and regulations are necessary.

Unfortunately, it always seems to take a tragedy to drive change in America…

This article in today’s New York Times shows how one woman is trying to keep the memory alive:

“I GREW up with this story, and I’ve always wanted to do something about it,” Ruth Sergel said. “It’s like a black hole in your heart.”

In 2004, Ms. Sergel started doing something about the story she grew up with: the Triangle Waist Company fire, which killed 146 garment workers in 1911, almost all of them Jewish and Italian immigrants. She had just read a book about the fire, to distract herself from worrying about the premiere of a short film she had directed at the the Tribeca Film Festival.

At the end of the book, “Triangle: The Fire That Changed America,” was a list of names and addresses of the victims, and Ms. Sergel was moved to discover that many had lived within blocks of her apartment on East Third Street. Eager to do something about the story that had created a black hole in her heart, she hit upon what she called “the schmaltziest idea.”

On March 25, the anniversary of the fire, she and a few dozen friends put her idea into action: they divided up the names and addresses, and fanned out across the Lower East Side, the East Village and Little Italy, armed with sidewalk chalk. In front of each building where a victim had lived, they chalked a name, age and cause of death — in white, green, pink and purple, often with drawings of flowers, tombstones or a triangle. They chalked, “Pauline Horowitz, Age 19, Lived at 58 St. Marks Pl., Died March 25, 1911, Triangle Factory Fire.” And “Albina Caruso, Age 20, Lived at 21 Bowery, Died March 25, 1911, Triangle Factory Fire.”

That first year, they chalked 140 names, plus the word “unidentified” six times, in front of the old factory building, just east of Washington Square.

“After you chalk one or two names, something starts to happen,” said Ms. Sergel, 48, an artist who cobbles a living from grant to grant. “Chalking helps reveal a hidden geography of the city. If there are two victims across the street from each other, you wonder, ‘Did they walk to work together? Did their families console each other?’ The whole rest of the year you associate those buildings with that person.”

via In a Tragedy, A Mission To Remember – NYTimes.com.

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