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RELEASE: How Georgia’s Anti-Immigration Law Could Hurt the State’s (and the Nation’s) Economy

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Contact: Madeline Meth
Phone: 202.741.6277
Email: mmeth@americanprogress.org

Read the report here (pdf).

Listen to today’s press call here (mp3).

Washington, D.C. — Today the Center for American Progress released “How Georgia’s Anti-Immigration Law Could Hurt the State’s (and the Nation’s) Economy,” a report that explores the economic impacts of Georgia’s H.B. 87, a harsh anti-immigrant law modeled after Arizona’s S.B. 1070.

The report, written by Georgia-based journalist Tom Baxter, combines existing information on agricultural losses from H.B. 87 with in-depth reporting and interviews with growers who are experiencing the ramifications of the law’s passage in April of this year. It also examines the long-term consequences for the state—and for America’s food security as a whole—if migrant workers continue to avoid Georgia.

The report’s findings include:

2011 losses

  • $300 million estimated loss in harvested crop statewide
  • $1 billion estimated in total economic impact on Georgia’s economy
  • Untold millions in losses to the economies of small towns and farmers dependent on immigrant labor

Future losses

  • $797 million loss per year in crop value across the state if Georgia replaced all of its handpicked crops with mechanized crops that do not require migrant labor
  • $1.2 million loss per year in crop value for the average small farmer if he or she replaced all of their handpicked crops with mechanized crops that do not require migrant labor
  • Untold millions in losses to the economies of small towns and farmers dependent on immigrant labor

H.B. 87’s full effects may not be observable in Georgia for many months or even a few years. But the preliminary findings laid out in this report should provide a cautionary tale for legislators in other states considering their own version of anti-immigrant legislation.

And the damages from this law go beyond economic. During the press call held today to release the report, Uvalda, Georgia Mayor Paul Bridges said, “The interesting impact that I’ve seen is how communities have been torn apart…we have a rip in our social fabric because we are separating families based on fear of the impact of this law.”

Read the report here (pdf).

Listen to today’s press call here (mp3).

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