Friends of Refugees

A U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program Watchdog Group

Refugee secondary migration to Alabama to fill jobs locals reject

Posted by Christopher Coen on September 24, 2012

Alabama Republican state Senator Scott Beason, a sponsor of a year-old law designed to drive out illegal Hispanic immigrants, said at a news conference last year that the restrictions on undocumented workers would “put thousands of native Alabamians back in the work force.” Instead, it caused a labor shortage that resulted in the arrival of hundreds of refugees looking to fill the jobs (locals apparently find the plants are too cold and the jobs too difficult). An article at Bloomberg.com explains:

Esene Manga, an Eritrean refugee living in Atlanta, hadn’t heard of Albertville, Alabama until a recruiter offered him a job there. Now Manga, 22, earns $10.85 an hour cutting chicken breasts on a poultry-plant night shift, an unexpected beneficiary of a year-old law designed to drive out illegal Hispanic immigrants.

This isn’t what the law’s backers said would happen. Republican state Senator Scott Beason, a sponsor, said at a news conference last year that the restrictions on undocumented workers would “put thousands of native Alabamians back in the work force.”

Instead, it caused a labor shortage that resulted in the importation of hundreds of legal African and Haitian refugees, and Puerto Ricans, according to interviews with workers, advocacy organizations and businesses. Most were recruited by the poultry industry, in a segment of the economy that has been a heavy employer of undocumented workers, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, a Washington research group.

Alabama is one of five states that last year passed immigration laws modeled on a 2010 Arizona measure largely invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court in June. Last month, an appellate court in Atlanta said many of the Alabama law’s requirements also aren’t constitutional. Other provisions, including one allowing police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants, remain in place.

Destination: Albertville

In Albertville, a city of about 21,000 in the northeast corner of the state, Manga, his friend Abrahaley Araya and about 18 other African refugees started at Wayne Farms LLC’s plant in the days after the law took effect a year ago, according to the two men and Albert Mbanfu of Lutheran Services of Georgia, which helps refugees find jobs… Read more here

See video at CBS42

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3 Responses to “Refugee secondary migration to Alabama to fill jobs locals reject”

  1. Dini said

    I would not want to live in Alabama being that they are so discriminatory.

  2. diing78 said

    The refugees are not arriving on their own. They are being recruited by an employment agency.

  3. derrick333 said

    . …and wages so low that Americans won’t take the jobs considering the poor work conditions.

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