Alabama Farmers Hurt By Immigration Laws

By: Pat Peterson Email
By: Pat Peterson Email

MOBILE, AL -- Giuseppe Peturis and his family have used migrant workers on their Baldwin County farm for decades.

"The Americans are not going to work out in the heat and bend their backs, they're not as hard of workers as Hispanics," said Peturis.

But peturis says last week, his migrant workers walked off the job and moved out of Alabama- afraid of the state's new immigration law. Peturis says less help in the fields could mean higher prices at produce stands.
It's going to drastically affect the consumer.

Peturis can't find local people willing to work.

"There's no Americans that will come out and do this kind of work, they just won't work. They come out a day or two and you won't see them again. Some of them work 30 minutes and they leave the field, you don't hear from them. If we don't have the labor to pick the crops, either grow it and pick what you can pick yourself or stop farming," said Peturis.

Bill Penry has been farming for 53 years. Penry lost four migrant workers at his sweet potato farm - so he hired local replacements

But he's not confident they'll stick around. "When you start talking about picking potatoes up off the ground, we've got nobody that'll do that, we tried it, they couldn't take the heat." said Penry.

Farming is hard work but can pay well. The problem according to many farmers however, is finding locals willing and able to replace migrant workers leaving Alabama.

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