Anyone who has wondered what might happen if there were no illegal immigrants in America can look to Stillmore, Ga., for a case study. After agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducted investigations and raids in the area, a chicken processing plant that is the biggest employer in the tiny rural town lost more than half its workforce.
In all, 126 illegal immigrants were arrested in Stillmore — many of them have already been deported to Mexico. The last time anyone in the area could recall a similar raid was one that took place in 1998, in the onion fields.
But Georgia's politicians raised such a protest that the federal government backed down.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of immigrants have moved to Georgia, giving it one of the fastest-growing Latino populations in the country.