Anti-Immigrant Legislation Hits Alabama Factories

Anti-Immigrant Legislation Hits Alabama Factories

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ALBERTVILLE, Ala- Adela, an undocumented worker hurries back to the chicken processing factory Ala Trade because the lack of workers leaves no time for a break.

 "Today we were missing six lines," said Adela, each line represents about 13 to 16 people. 



In Albertville, a community located 66 miles from Birmingham, the psychological impact of the HB56 law which makes being undocumented a state crime, has been quickly felt. 



In half a dozen chicken processing plants such as this one, which is an important source of employment in the town of 21,000 inhabitants, the absence of immigrants has become visible. "I want to go to Texas for my children. I'm leaving from here. I don’t want immigration (ICE) take me," said Adela, 40, who has spent nearly half of her life living in Alabama.



For some immigrants like Adela, it is not the fear of being discovered at work that concerns them, but that the police could detain them in the street and their children would be in the government’s custody, should they be deported.



On Wednesday Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn approved various parts of HB 56 to take effect, unlike what happened in Arizona with a similar law last year.



Blackburn refuted the arguments of the Department of Justice (DOJ) of the United States that much of the law is unconstitutional.



Yet many immigrants like Adela hope that the judge will consider temporarily halting her decision on these parts as the Eleventh Court of Appeals considers the appeal submitted by the DOJ. "You have to wait and see what happens," said Andrea Sanchez, an undocumented worker. "Meanwhile, I’m not going out, not to work, or the punch-bowl, or the laundromat," she said.



Sanchez, 25, decided not to work since Wednesday, when she learned that parts of the law were approved. "Now we are treated like kings. They used to say ‘if you want to work, good, if not that’s good too,” said Sanchez, who received several calls from Diamond Foods Poultry Processing Plant, where she worked for 7 years with another name for $ 7.25 an hour. "We’re being begged to go back to work."



This time they said that if they did not go to work, they would not get "points" in a system to keep track of employees who are absent due to illness.



The absence of workers has been noted in several factories. Wayne Farms, a chicken processing plant that has been in Albertville for over 45 years, placed tents, boxes with job applications in English and Spanish and began receiving candidates to fill vacancies from 5 am on Monday. "The line of people stretched several blocks," said one of the workers.



For some this is proof that the departure of undocumented immigrants is generating new sources of employment." What is going on is a good thing. It helps the economy," said Stephany Herring, 26, who arrived early with her husband and baby to wait to apply at Wayne Farms.



"Whoever didn’t want to work, too bad for him. I am willing to work hard," said Herring.



Interestingly among those expected to seek employment there were also some undocumented immigrants such as Angelica Cervantes, a native of Toluca, Mexico, who has been unemployed for months. "I took an application and I will think," said Cervantes. "I’m not thinking of moving right now."



One of the arguments of those who supported the bill HB56 including Republican Gov. Robert Bentley is to combat unemployment, but opponents say there are jobs that whites are not willing to do. "We always have open job positions and they’re very difficult to fill" said Frank Singleton, a spokesman for Wayne Farms in Atlanta, Georgia.

Singleton said he could not provide figures on the number of workers who had been absent but absences were recorded in all its plants in Alabama as well as a decrease in the number of people applying for jobs. In Albertville, Wayne Farms employs 850 people, an estimated 30% are Latino. "We know of many people who already left or are planning to leave," said Singleton.

Singleton said it’s already been predicted that HB 56 would have a negative impact on the Hispanic community whether with documents or without, choosing to leave the state to avoid being subject to racial profiling.

Wayne Farms already uses the E-verify system, a federal database to determine whether a person is authorized to work legally in the U.S., said Singleton. But he thinks many of those who left are workers who are documented but have undocumented family members.

Some immigrants are choosing destination states such as Tennessee where their anti-immigrant laws are supposedly less harsh or Georgia, where they have slowed a similar law in federal courts.

Olga, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala who works in one of the poultry processing plants, said there was no turning back and is thinking about returning to the San Marcos apartment with her partner.

"Alabama thinks it's its own country and the governor says he wants to clean the state," said Heraldo Lopez, another undocumented worker. "But it will be the poorest state in the country."
 

Comments

 
Anonymous

Posted Oct 4 2011

we need illegals without them its gng to be hard

Anonymous

Posted Oct 4 2011

If you want to work become a CITIZEN and earn the benefits other Americans have to work hard to obtain, i.e., Health Care, Social Security Benefits, etc. This country can not support ILLEGALS. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

Anonymous

Posted Oct 5 2011

Why when they talk about indocumented people the don't talk about asians or africans it has to be always hispanics

Anonymous

Posted Oct 5 2011

Unemployment & food stamps add up to nearly double what these job positions pay. MINIMUM WAGE 32 HOURS PAYS $800 A MONTH after taxes etc. UNEMPLOYMENT PAYS $1120 A MONTH TAX FREE! FOOD STAMPS $408 A MONTH FOR 3! THAT'S $1528 A MONTH TAX FREE! ROUGHLY $12 AN HOUR TO STAY HOME plus free medical!

What's even worse, Alabama has the lowest rate of all 50 states on minimum wage, unemployment, and food stamps! So if you lose your job the absolute minimum you will earn is the entire USA is $12/hr to stay home and watch TV. No wonder unemployment is so high! Only an idiot would apply for a minimum wage job (or an illegal immigrant that doesn't qualify for any of these free benefits) but without these minimum wage workers EVERY FACTORY, FARM, AND RESTAURANT IN THE ENTIRE USA WILL CLOSE making anti-immigration laws outright stupid! Anti-immigration laws never create jobs IT JUST RUINS OUR ECONOMY!

Anonymous

Posted Oct 5 2011

Unemployment & food stamps add up to nearly double what these job positions pay. MINIMUM WAGE 32 HOURS PAYS $800 A MONTH after taxes etc. UNEMPLOYMENT PAYS $1120 A MONTH TAX FREE! FOOD STAMPS $408 A MONTH FOR 3! THAT'S $1528 A MONTH TAX FREE! ROUGHLY $12 AN HOUR TO STAY HOME plus free medical!

What's even worse, Alabama has the lowest rate of all 50 states on minimum wage, unemployment, and food stamps! So if you lose your job the absolute minimum you will earn is the entire USA is $12/hr to stay home and watch TV. No wonder unemployment is so high! Only an idiot would apply for a minimum wage job (or an illegal immigrant that doesn't qualify for any of these free benefits) but without these minimum wage workers EVERY FACTORY, FARM, AND RESTAURANT IN THE ENTIRE USA WILL CLOSE making anti-immigration laws outright stupid! Anti-immigration laws never create jobs IT JUST RUINS OUR ECONOMY!

Anonymous

Posted Oct 5 2011

Unemployment & food stamps add up to nearly double what these job positions pay. MINIMUM WAGE 32 HOURS PAYS $800 A MONTH after taxes etc. UNEMPLOYMENT PAYS $1120 A MONTH TAX FREE! FOOD STAMPS $408 A MONTH FOR 3! THAT'S $1528 A MONTH TAX FREE! ROUGHLY $12 AN HOUR TO STAY HOME plus free medical!

What's even worse, Alabama has the lowest rate of all 50 states on minimum wage, unemployment, and food stamps! So if you lose your job the absolute minimum you will earn is the entire USA is $12/hr to stay home and watch TV. No wonder unemployment is so high! Only an idiot would apply for a minimum wage job (or an illegal immigrant that doesn't qualify for any of these free benefits) but without these minimum wage workers EVERY FACTORY, FARM, AND RESTAURANT IN THE ENTIRE USA WILL CLOSE making anti-immigration laws outright stupid! Anti-immigration laws never create jobs IT JUST RUINS OUR ECONOMY!

Anonymous

Posted Oct 5 2011

Unemployment & food stamps add up to nearly double what these job positions pay. MINIMUM WAGE 32 HOURS PAYS $800 A MONTH after taxes etc. UNEMPLOYMENT PAYS $1120 A MONTH TAX FREE! FOOD STAMPS $408 A MONTH FOR 3! THAT'S $1528 A MONTH TAX FREE! ROUGHLY $12 AN HOUR TO STAY HOME plus free medical!

What's even worse, Alabama has the lowest rate of all 50 states on minimum wage, unemployment, and food stamps! So if you lose your job the absolute minimum you will earn is the entire USA is $12/hr to stay home and watch TV. No wonder unemployment is so high! Only an idiot would apply for a minimum wage job (or an illegal immigrant that doesn't qualify for any of these free benefits) but without these minimum wage workers EVERY FACTORY, FARM, RESTAURANT, AND CONSTRUCTION COMPANY IN THE ENTIRE USA WILL CLOSE making anti-immigration laws outright stupid! Anti-immigration laws never create jobs IT JUST RUINS OUR ECONOMY!

Anonymous

Posted Oct 7 2011

I have an african husband and he paid damn good money to come here and he did it the right way so if you want to stay here and enjoy this country like we do then you should have to pay into social security and all that just like we do plus they need to stop giving out freebies like foodstamps to undocumented illegals because like it or not its us citizens tax dollars that pay for that.

Anonymous

Posted Oct 7 2011

I have an african husband and he paid damn good money to come here and he did it the right way so if you want to stay here and enjoy this country like we do then you should have to pay into social security and all that just like we do plus they need to stop giving out freebies like foodstamps to undocumented illegals because like it or not its us citizens tax dollars that pay for that.

Anonymous

Posted Oct 19 2011

to everyone who doesn't know the history of this country, most of their comments will be against immigrants. when was the time you saw white people work the kitchen at a restaurant? not saying there isn't any, but of those, who do you see that does what three people would do? who works on farms? who sets the food at your table? and for the comment about paying into social security...your husband must be rich as hell! and guess what country borders the US?- Mexico! so most people will go against those who might look hispanic, talk with an accent, and if their skin is dark. Mexico is concidered a 3rd world country due to its economy...so most people are poor. and no illegal gets benefits! they die during working hours...oh well. they get treated bad...most people don't care. is Holocaust again!!!

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