What is in this article?:
• “Estimates vary, but you see consistently that well over half — even upwards of three-quarters — of the folks who work in the fields in the produce industry haven’t been born in this country. So, certainly, anything related to immigration policy is of great interest to our industry.”
Enforcement side of law
“Second is the enforcement side of the law. That would give law enforcement various rights to ask for papers, make it illegal for an undocumented worker to get a job in Georgia. It contains some of the similar language in the Arizona law.
“However, a suit was filed before July 1, 2011, by a number of organizations including the ACLU. The judge impounded two portions of the Georgia law. One was a section commonly called ‘show me your papers.’ If you’re stopped at a traffic infraction or accident, a law enforcement agent can ask to see your papers to show you’re a U.S. citizen.
“The other section under injunction says if you knowingly transport an illegal alien, an undocumented worker, you can be charged with a felony. This section was aimed at anyone smuggling in illegal workers.
“But what would happen if a teenage daughter were driving an undocumented parent to the grocery store? What happens if they have an accident? They could be charged with a felony for carrying their parent to the store.
“Those injunctions worked through the courts. On March 1, 2012, the 11th Circuit in Atlanta heard the case. They said no ruling on either section would happen until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the Arizona law. They said the Arizona case could have some bearing on the Georgia law.”
After the Arizona ruling, what are you expecting on the Georgia law?
“It’s interesting. The Supreme Court ruling is somewhat vague. The governors of Arizona and Georgia have said the ruling supports their contention that you can check papers and call the federal authorities if (something is amiss).
“On the other side, advocates say if you check papers only for brown-skinned people then it’s profiling, which is against the law. That means for law enforcement to enact this section, they must check the papers of everyone … or be accused of discrimination or racial profiling.”
More on the run-up to the passing of the Georgia law…
“What did catch us by surprise was the extent of the fear of enforcement. We expected the E-Verify component to be much more difficult to handle and to have the biggest effect.
“What happened is the law passed and the governor signed it May 13 to great fanfare. At that point, the rumor mill really cranked up in the labor camps and among the harvest crews expected to travel from Florida to Georgia. By late May/early June, all kinds of rumors were floating around.
“This was 30 to 45 days prior to the law going into effect. There were rumors that Georgia was setting up roadblocks at the Florida border. None of that was true.