Daily Video

October 31, 2011

Alabama Immigration Law Spells Trouble for Farmers

Farmers in Alabama rely on immigrant workers for picking the produce they grow and send on to grocery stores around the country. However, Alabama’s new, strict immigration law has led most of those workers to leave the state in fear of being deported.

Although many in Alabama agree with the law and say immigrants are taking jobs away from citizens, some farmers say they are now faced with a very real labor problem. In some cases, fruits and vegetables are rotting in the fields with no one to pick them.

Although there are now technically many farm jobs available to American citizens who want to take immigrant’s places and pick produce, farmers say most Americans just aren’t prepared for the work involved.

“They ain’t durable enough, because they’re not used to doing that kind of stuff,” farmer Keith Smith said of American farm workers. “They come out and work two to three hours and: Whew. I have had it. I can’t take this anymore.”

Quotes

“I just refuse to believe that Americans will not or cannot do these jobs.” – Senator Scott Beason, Alabama

“I have to go pick them up and bring them to work, and at the end of the day, I have to carry them back home, because even the ones that are here legally are afraid to be on the highway. They’re afraid to drive because they’re afraid they are going to get pulled over. You know, it’s racial profiling. They know exactly who to pull over, because they can tell by looking at them.” – Kim Haynes, sweet potato farmer

Warm Up Questions

1. What is an immigrant? What does it mean to be in the country illegally?

2. What is involved in farm labor? Do you think you would like to do that job? Why or why not?

3. What do you know about Alabama’s new immigration law?

Discussion Questions

1. Who do you most agree with in this video? Disagree with? Why?

2. Why do you think unemployed Americans are hesitant to do farm labor or aren’t necessarily good at the work, as the farmer in the video said?

3. What do you think can solve America’s unemployment problem?

Additional Resources

Video Transcript

School Provision in Alabama Immigration Law Forces Families to Move

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