By Greg Gullberg
July 07, 2013
Valdosta, GA - It seems it's business as usual for many undocumented workers living in Georgia.
That's despite the tough Immigration Law passed in the state two years ago. A study of farmers says large numbers of illegal immigrants working the fields left for awhile. But the laws are not being heavily enforced so they've come back.
A survey by the Georgia Department of Agriculture showed that in 2011, farmers reported lacking more than 11,000 workers in the state during their spring and summer harvests.
"We're not going to stop someone just because they look a certain way. We don't do that here and never will," said Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress.
Some concerns have been raised about racial profiling by police. Georgia's law shares many provisions with Arizona's law which was challenged by the Supreme Court. In both states, law enforcement are empowered to run immigration checks on anybody they arrest or detain even for minor traffic offenses.
"We're going to stop you if we have reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed or is about to be committed. Or if there's probable cause that a crime is being committed. If we determine they're not supposed to be in the United States we'll notify immigration. If they decide they want to deport them then so be it," said Chief Childress.
Many undocumented workers are avoiding the Peach State because of the law. But like it or not, many farmers depend on them.
Meanwhile, all eyes are on Congress as it wrestles over plans to simultaneously prevent future illegal immigration and offer a chance at citizenship for millions now living in the country illegally.