Ala. immigration law impacts farmers

Published: Sep. 28, 2011 at 8:36 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 26, 2011 at 4:36 PM CDT
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DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - Governor Bentley says today's ruling gives Alabama the toughest crackdown on illegal immigration in America.

This ruling does not strike down the E-verify system.

Using the system to identify illegal workers is fine, but it's voluntary for employers, unless they have been caught hiring illegal aliens before.

Farmers were worried when the legislation passed that the labor would leave. Many workers did leave and now farmers are concerned about the big Spring season.

A lot of farmers say they're picking produce in harvest themselves, scrambling to get it to market in time.

Every farmer at the farmer's market in Decatur who has immigrant labor, legal or not, says all of them have gone. And for a lot of crops, the Fall harvest is also the time for Spring planting. Some farmers are cutting strawberry production big time, with no idea who's going to pick the crop.

"There's a big concern for next year. I'm cutting back," said farmer William Burkes. "We won't plant as much because we don't know what kind of labor we will have."

It's not just the farmer's field that's being impacted. Farmers say the marketplace is taking a hit too.

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