Labor shortages hit Georgia restaurants reportedly due to new immigration law

The controversial new immigration law in Georgia has led to labor shortages in the state’s restaurants, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

A survey by the Georgia Restaurant Association shows that half of the state’s restaurant owners are finding it difficult to hire new employees following the passage of the immigration reform law. Over 500 of Georgia’s restaurateurs responded to the voluntary survey.

The law, HB 87, is an attempt to reign in illegal immigration in the state. Lawmakers are hoping to eliminate what they see as a major financial burden on state resources, such as schools, hospitals and jails.

However, parts of the law were temporarily blocked by a federal judge in late June because of the threat they posed to civil rights. The sections blocked would have allowed police to inquire about citizenship during criminal investigations and to punish people who knowingly harbor illegal immigrants.

“The apparent legislative intent is to create such a climate of hostility, fear, mistrust and insecurity that all illegal aliens will leave Georgia,” US District Judge Thomas Thrash, wrote in his ruling.

In addition to the restaurant industry, farmers in Georgia have also been vocal about their opposition to HB 87, citing severe labor shortages.