Alabama Workers Vanishing Following New Law
In one Alabama town, a huge factory with the capacity of processing 130,000 chickens daily operates that carries birds on conveyor belts while over 300 workers slice each carcass into ready to eat pieces of chicken. For many years, the majority of the workers in the poultry industry were immigrants from Mexico, including many who were working illegally. However, last fall, following a tough new law against illegal immigration many of the workers left and created a huge vacuum in the poultry industry. Operators of businesses were sent scrambling to find workers to fill their plants.
One owner said that even a person born and raised in town might not have the skills needed or be able to pass the rigid background check to work. The company had a job fair last week and over 250 workers from the town came, but only a few received jobs and even some of those quickly quit because of the demanding work involved. He said that since the immigration law went into effect, the turnover of employees has increased tremendously.
Advocates of the new law say it accomplished exactly what they wanted, driving thousands of undocumented immigrants from their state. One chief sponsor, Alabama State Senator Scott Beason said, “All our state activities will not be worth anything if President Obama gives everyone amnesty.”
The United States Supreme Court is expected to rule this month on a similar law from Arizona that will affect the current law in Alabama. Beason believes that the new law has helped to employ more legal Alabamians, noting that the rate of unemployment in the state fell to 7.2% from 9.8%.
However, many different Alabama employers have said they cannot find enough residents who are legal to replace the seasoned immigrants who exited the state.