NewsFlash: F, M, and J Visa Issuance Resumes. The issues forcing a temporary unavailability of certain nonimmigrant visas have been resolved. U.S. Consulates had ceased processing these visas. The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) confirmed on November 21, 2011 that F, M, and J visa processing has resumed.
Immigration Laws in Alabama and Georgia and Tennessee to follow similar in 2012:
Farmers say it is difficult to find Americans who want to, or know how to do the back breaking
work of bringing the state’s produce in from the fields. They also say that the process of obtaining legal migrants is costly.
The end result could be higher prices. While prices for commodities such as wheat and corn have soared in recent years, most produce found in local supermarkets has remained steady. Without foreign-born labor, that could change. “If labor is not there, food just won’t be there.” The effect of tougher immigration laws in Georgia and
Alabama has been immediate.
Georgia economists estimate that their state lost $75 million from its $578 million agriculture industry as berries, bell peppers, squash, cucumbers, watermelons and the state’s famed Vidalia onions were left to rot.
Alabama’s initial estimate is $40 million lost, and Sam Addy, an economist at the University of Alabama, said that figure likely understates the damage.
Georgia and Alabama implemented laws that give police greater power to check immigration status and that require local governments to check status before offering social services.
Alabama’s law, which took effect Sept. 29, 2011, has created long lines as local governments check status for routine tasks such as acquiring a dog license or turning on electric utilities. The disruptions caused by the laws have led many immigrants, legal and illegal to leave, according to news accounts from those states.
At the very least, Tennessee’s law will add another procedure to the process of obtaining legal farm workers. At worst, it could slow farm hiring, especially if the state overshoots in its efforts to clamp down on illegal immigration.