a day without immigrants


Industries that rely on immigrant workers were clearly affected, though the impact was not uniform.

None of the 175 seasonal laborers who normally work Mike Collins’ 500 acres of Vidalia onion fields in southeastern Georgia showed up Monday.

“We need to be going wide open this time of year to get these onions out of the field,” he said. “We’ve got orders to fill. Losing a day in this part of the season causes a tremendous amount of problems.”

It was the same story in Indiana, where the owner of one landscaping business said he was at a loss.

About 25 Hispanic workers — 90 percent of the field work force — never reported Monday to Salsbery Brothers Landscaping.

“We’re basically shut down in our busiest month of the year,” said owner Jeff Salsbery. “It’s going to cost me thousands of dollars.”

Beef and chicken processing plants also felt the pinch.

Eight of 14 Perdue Farms chicken plants closed for lack of workers. Tyson Foods Inc., the world’s largest meat producer, shuttered about a dozen of its more than 100 plants and saw “higher-than-usual absenteeism” at others, according to spokesman Gary Michaelson. Most of the closures were in states such as Iowa and Nebraska. Poultry plants also closed in North Carolina and Georgia.

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