SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - In an immigration forum today hosted by Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, Utahns and officials from other states like Idaho and Georgia discussed how immigrants have impacted our local economy.
While Utah is still dealing with legal issues in the courts, Shurtleff said it’s important to talk about how to fix the situation without hurting local businesses and leaving immigrants without a job.
“You hear constantly that undocumented workers are a drain on our economy. Well now we are seeing evidence that that it’s not true. It’s quite the opposite,” commented Mark Shurtleff.
States with new anti-immigration laws, as they are referred to, are seeing a slump in production. “As the influx of Latinos came in, the production was faster and better quality,” said Mayor Paul Bridges from Uvalda, Georgia.
Bridges said farmers in his state are suffering great losses. Ever since H.B. 87 passed many immigrants have left the state, and other people don’t want those jobs. “The interesting part is some of them are undocumented, but a large number are documented, however the issue of an enforcement only bill is that it scares everybody away,” Bridges added.
“When you have policies that make people scared of taking jobs or illegal then you’ll see less immigrants coming into that geography you are looking at,” said Priscilla Salant, a researcher from the University of Idaho.
Evaristo Rivera is from Veracruz, Mexico. He came with hopes of helping his family out. “We are waiting for something, because we need Hispanics. We work really hard,” Rivera said.
As each day goes by, Rivera’s dreams are becoming harder to reach. “People are losing their job, because of the laws that have passed,” commented Rivera.