Farmers Worried About Crops Due to Immigration Law

By: Melaina Gasbarrino

The world of farming is about to change with the new Alabama law against illegal immigration, especially if it is put into place beyond Alabama borders. The new law, which forces illegal immigrants out of the country was partially put into effect yesterday, and as a result many Hispanic employees at farms across Alabama are fleeing the country. This of course is taking a toll on the farming community of Good Hope, Alabama, one of Alabama's leading agricultural areas, because the majority of farm workers are illegal or legal immigrants.

First things first, immigrants flee to the USA and the first job they are accustomed to finding is in farming. The majority of farms throughout Alabama mostly have immigrants who are tending to the fields instead of American citizens. Why, you ask? Well in today's day and age as noted in Jay Reeves', "Farmers: Immigration Law May Cost Crops," Americans aren't willing to "sweat in the fields and get dirty even though wages are usually well above minimum wage." And so this past Monday, farmers gathered in Good Hope, Alabama to plead to legislators to change the state's new law against illegal immigration as millions of crops are at risk in the upcoming harvest season.

The law that farmers are hoping will be changed states that it is 'a crime to employ or assist an illegal immigrant remaining in the country'. What lawmakers are not taking into consideration is that this new immigration law will break the lifeline of agriculture in Alabama. Kim Haynes of Cullman, Alabama says about half of his workers (legal and illegal immigrants) have fled the state as they feared the law would take effect in the next couple of days. This means that Haynes, and his 25-acres of sweet potato crops, along with the 50 other famers in attendances crops, will suffer. Millions of dollars will go down the drain if farms in Alabama don't come up with a solution, and fast.

Wayne Walker, Deputy Agriculture Commissioner, is sweating over the fact that millions of dollars will be lost if the law is passed. Take a look at "How Immigrants Keep us Fed," where we dive into how there is a continued rise in migrant agricultural workers in the USA. Or better yet, we can only hope there will be an even greater increase in female farmers across America to loosen the rails on immigrant farming. For the farmers sakes we hope the law isn't set in stone to allow for a proper harvest this October.

Photo: CIMMYT

My Mobile Mardi Gras

By Erica Veal - Events Manager at Red Rooster Harlem

My family is from Mobile, Alabama. In Mobile, Mardi Gras starts two weeks before Ash Wednesday, with parades and that sort of thing. People are out there right now, partying, and celebrating.

What happened years ago, because Mobile, like New Orleans, is very Catholic city. The church thought Mardi Gras was pagan. So they ended it for a while, stopped Mardi Gras, and couldn't have parades any more.

There was a man named Joe Cane, he and several friends dressed up and had their own Mardi Gras parade, and that's how Mardi Gras came back. Now every year, the Sunday before Mardi Gras, there's Joe Cane Day. Women dress up in black, because supposedly he had a lot of wives, so they say they're Joe Cane widows. They sit there with their mint juleps, their bourbon.

That's also the day you start your gumbo. On Joe Cane Day you may make Red Beans and Rice, but you start your gumbo that you're not going to eat until Mardi Gras.

For the gumbo, you start off with your roux, which is the flour and the oil. I like my roux a little dark, so that it has a little bitterness. Then you add your chopped vegetables, what they call your trinity, which is your bell peppers, your onion, and your celery. You add three different types of pepper. the white peppers for burn, the red pepper is for heat, and the black pepper is for spice.

You add in everything from andouille sausage, to chicken, shrimp, whole crab, and sometimes you'll add in some oysters. Then you serve the gumbo over rice.

All you do is eat and drink the whole time. I go home every year, every one goes home for Mardi Gras. You wake up at ten am and you start drinking and you get ready for the parades.

Nothing's really open on Tuesday, except for crawfish places. You get pounds and pounds of crawfish, and you have to suck the head. That's where all the juice and stuff is.

When I was little, you would go to these parades and come home with bags and bags of candy. But the best things to catch aside from beads are moon pies. I can't stand moon pies, but I love to catch them. They're so much fun to catch. Sometimes the people on the floats throw a box of moon pies, and if you catch the box, that's the ultimate prize.

One year they called my mother over to the float and they handed her a whole case of moon pies, which was amazing.

Moon pies have a marshmallow center, almost like a whoopie pie. They come in different flavors, like banana and chocolate, vanilla, and also strawberry.

It's a big reunion, because no matter where you are, if you've left the city, everyone comes home for Mardi Gras.