Last year, Senator Scott Beason said the restrictions on undocumented workers would put Alabamians back to work. Instead, Alabama’s tough immigration laws are hurting the economy to the point that many food processing facilities have to import African refugees to work at their poultry plants since no American workers are applying for those jobs. And it is not only the poultry industry that is suffering, many crops are lost because the shortage of workers. What it was supposed to be a measure to bring back jobs to American workers, it is clearly not bringing any Alabamians to the farming industry.
Alabama’s unemployment rate has dropped to 8.5 percent since HB 56 was enacted, though federal data show that’s because the labor force shrank. State senator Scott Beason, a Republican sponsor of the law, isn’t happy about the influx of new immigrants: “We would prefer [companies] to hire native Alabamians.”