It looks like farmers have woken up to the threat that “show me your papers” legislation poses to their livelihoods.
Case in point: In a recent article decrying the effects of state-level anti-immigrant laws on fruit and vegetable growing, Southeastern Farm Press described Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina as “three states that have become self-destructively hostile to migrant farm workers.”
Here’s what a couple of anonymous S.C. growers had to say in the article:
“We’re looking for alternative sources for our peaches, even for use as biofuels, because we don’t have the labor to pick the crop or to run our packing house,” says a South Carolina peach grower (he doesn’t want his name used because he fears it will bring down investigations of his farming operation and his use of migrant laborers).
The state’s vegetable industry is equally challenged. A Charleston County vegetable grower says he ended up burning 25 percent of his 80-acre tomato crop, because he had no labor for hand picking.
“I could have used 300 pickers,” he says. “I had 40. These people don’t cause any trouble — they just come here to work.” Like the South Carolina peach grower, he fears reprisals and is hesitant to say too much about the labor situation in his state.
I’m not sure that the peach farmer didn’t mean to say that he’s looking for “alternative markets” for his produce, but I do know that allowing even one delicious S.C. peach to skip our plates and go toward biofuel would be a crime against nature.
Seriously though, farmers, we welcome y’all to this fight and trust you will find numerous reasons to stand with us against these needlessly fearful laws.