The third Alabama Immigration Law Seminar drew nearly 250 business owners, farmers and others affected by the recently passed immigration legislation to Montgomery Aug. 17.

The attendees received useful information about the law’s affects and changes each business must make to comply with the rigorous rules the law presents.

Representatives from four law firms across the state covered sections of the law that affect employers, addressing E-Verify, I-9 audits, federal law vs. state law and several other topics.

“As a member of Alabama Employers for Immigration Reform, the Alabama Farmers Federation helped provide these seminars around the state to educate farmers about how to comply with the law,” said Mac Higginbotham, director of the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Greenhouse, Nursery and Sod divisions.

“Attendees from around the state have learned about their obligations in regards to E-verify and the I-9 process that is existing law. The seminars have been a reminder of the importance of keeping good I-9 records, and more so now with mandatory E-verify beginning April 1.”

Several farmers attended the Montgomery seminar, and each had different concerns.

During the question portion after the seminar, Harold Gaines, an Autauga County Farmers Federation board member, asked if he would have to fill out an I-9 form every time he re-hired a seasonal worker.

“As long as the documentation hasn’t expired, you can just fill out the rehire portion of the form,” one of the attorneys answered.

Mike Burnette of Burnette Farms in Thornsby, Ala., said he is concerned about the effects the law will have on small farms.

Burnette only employs two people seasonally to pick his peaches, tomatoes, squash and cucumbers, and he says participating in the H-2A program won’t be worth the cost.

“The only way to have legal immigrants is to have the H-2A program, and you have to provide them housing, transportation, power, gas, phone, water — you’ve got to pay all those costs,” Burnette said.