Concerns rise over immigration bill's effect on Alabama economy

"The immigration bill that the legislature passed requires businesses for the first time to use e-verify--an electronic system to determine the legal status of their employees," says Alabama State Senator, Bryan Taylor.

This part of Alabama's new immigration law makes folks like Jose Llanes worry about Alabama's economy.

"This is a disaster for farmers. Farmers cannot sustain this overtime. They will simply go broke."

Llanes is a professor at Auburn University and has studied the impact immigration has had on Alabama.

He says many illegal immigrants are here because "they're being hired by Alabama's own businesses."

He says they're providing labor for the farm and poultry industries other residents won't do.

"You're bent over, you're carrying things, you're sweating like a pig," he says.

Llanes estimates roughly 1/3 of Alabama's Hispanic population is here illegally. That's about 50,000 thousand people.

And while he doesn't think it's right, he wonders what would happen without them.

"It's not welfare for Mexicans. It is a need for us to stabilize our agriculture production. And the only way you can do that is with legal labor--labor you can import," adds Llanes.

"Much of this bill is not novel, we're just trying to enforce the federal law because it's not being enforced at the federal level," says Senator Taylor.

Llanes believes the country needs a policy allowing businesses to hire undocumented workers as long as the government knows about it.

Senator Taylor believes there will probably be more court challenges to the law.  It could force the legislature to re-work the bill.

The law goes into effect September 1st.

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