Ga. Governor to Farms: Hire Ex-Cons, Not Immigrants

One farmer says they're 'scared to death' of the idea
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2011 2:04 PM CDT
In this 2010 file photo, a worker plants Vidalia onions on an onion farm in Lyons, Ga.   (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

(Newser) – Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has a suggestion for all the farmers panicking over a new law cracking down on illegal immigrant labor: Hire ex-convicts instead. A state-commissioned survey this week showed that farmers expected to be short about 11,000 laborers thanks to the law, which requires businesses with 10 or more employees to check new hires against a federal database to ensure they’re legally allowed to work, the Wall Street Journal explains.

On Tuesday, Deal said he had asked the state’s Department of Corrections to come up with a deal that would put convicts on probation to work on the farms. The state has around 100,000 probationers, and most are unemployed. “I believe this would be a great partial solution,” Deal said. The exact details haven’t been worked out yet. But one farm owner says farmers "would be scared to death to let ex-convicts work on their farms."

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