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  Georgia immigrant crackdown backfires
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ContributorThe Sunset Provision 
Last EditedThe Sunset Provision  Jun 23, 2011 08:16pm
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News DateFriday, June 24, 2011 02:00:00 AM UTC0:0
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Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal’s program to replace fleeing migrant farmworkers with probationers backfired when some of the convicted criminals started walking off their jobs because field work was too strenuous, it was reported Wednesday.

And the state’s farms could lose up to $1 billion if crops continue to go unpicked and rot, the president of the Georgia Agribusiness Council warned.


In a story datelined Leslie, in rural south Georgia, The Associated Press writes of convicts calling it quits at 3:25 p.m. — more than 2½ hours before the crew of Mexicans and Guatemalans they replaced.

“Those guys out here weren’t out there 30 minutes and they got the bucket and just threw them in the air and say, `Bonk this. I ain’t with this. I can’t do this,’” said Jermond Powell, a 33-year-old probationer working at a farm in Leslie. “They just left, took off across the field walking.”

Georgia, which passed an Arizona-style immigration bill in April that is due to take effect next month, has seen thousands of undocumented immigrants flee the state. A state survey released last week found 11,080 vacant positions on state farms that needed to be filled to avoid losing crops.
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