Alabama Latinos Flee Immigration Law, Leaving Insufficient Workforce for Tuscaloosa Tornado Cleanup

 On September 1, an Arizona-style law will take effect in Alabama, essentially allowing police to racially profile its citizens if they have "suspicions" about their immigration status. The bill was signed by Governor Robert Bentley in early June, and since then, scores of Latinos have been fleeing the state. As a result, many communities have been decimated... and Tuscaloosa may not have enough workers to help clean up the aftermath of devastating tornados. Bloomberg:


When Tuscaloosa, Alabama, begins rebuilding more than 7,200 homes and businesses leveled by an April 27 tornado, it may find itself missing a workforce capable of putting the city together again.

That’s what Ever Duarte, head of the city’s Hispanic soccer league, said after losing a third of his teams in a week. Tuscaloosa County’s 6,000-strong Hispanic population --including roofers, Sheetrockers, concrete pourers, framers, landscapers and laborers -- is disappearing, he said, before a law cracking down on illegal immigrants takes effect.

“They’re leaving now, right now,” Duarte, 36, said during a pause in a pick-up soccer game last week in a neighborhood gym. “I know people who are packing up tonight. They don’t want to wait to see what happens. It started last week. Our league had 12 teams the week before that. Last week, it was eight.”

A contractor told the paper that there are "very few subcontractors I work with that don't have a Hispanic workforce," and that he's worried about construction once it picks back up in August after a moratorium.“It’s not the pay rate," he said, referring to the fact that undocumented laborers often work for far less than those with citizenship. "It’s the fact that they work harder than anyone. It’s the work ethic.”  Read the whole story at Bloomberg.

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at June 30, 2011, 6:41am

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