By ETHAN BRONNER
The New York Times
Published: May 6, 2013
VIDALIA, Ga. — For years, labor unions and immigrant rights activists have accused large-scale farmers, like those harvesting sweet Vidalia onions here this month, of exploiting Mexican guest workers. Working for hours on end under a punishing sun, the pickers are said to be crowded into squalid camps, driven without a break and even cheated of wages.
But as Congress weighs immigration legislation expected to expand the guest worker program, another group is increasingly crying foul — Americans, mostly black, who live near the farms and say they want the field work but cannot get it because it is going to Mexicans. Read more…
By DAN CHAPMAN
FORT GAINES, Ga. — Ryan Wheeler, graduating from law school in Atlanta this month, needs a job.
Clay County, a rural southwest Georgia community without a full-time, private-practice attorney, needs all the legal help it can get.
A match made in heaven?
Despite the job-search difficulty facing the newly minted graduates of Georgia State, Emory, the University of Georgia, Mercer and other law schools, few will end up practicing in rural Georgia, where legal representation is sorely lacking.
Farmworker Division Lead Attorney Dawson Morton wrote an article for Huffington Post about the struggles of U.S. citizen and immigrant farmworkers. “Court filings tell a story of Americans displaced from jobs flooded with foreign workers and of foreign workers who lose their job if they demand fair pay or better working conditions,” he says.
Prepared by:Leo Cuello
Health care spending in the Medicaid program has the lowest level of spending inflation among insurers in the United States.This is true because both state and federal budgeters have squeezed the Medicaid program for savings. For example, states have used Medicaid rate-setting authority to tightly limit the payments made to providers and keep the program’s costs low. States typically pay providers the bare minimum they are willing to accept – sometimes leading to access problems for enrollees. In short, Medicaid is the leanest health care coverage model in the nation. Read more…
By Meredith Hobbs
Fulton Daily Report
July 23, 2012
Handling thousands of poverty law cases each year while coping with sharp funding reductions from a patchwork of private and government sources has been a delicate juggling act for three of the state’s major legal aid groups.
Funding for the Georgia Legal Services Program, the Atlanta Legal Aid Society and Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation has dropped 13.5 percent since 2008, when their combined total budget was $24.2 million.
Miguel Gines lost his job as a counselor for troubled children last year and has been surviving by using savings and unemployment benefits to pay for food and rent.
Now Gines, 58, who lives in Dalton, Georgia, is almost out of cash. His $133-a-week jobless benefits stopped in April, two months before Gines said he expected, and his savings are depleted. He may be homeless in July, after rent money he received from the Salvation Army charity runs out, he said.
“I was going along fine, looking for work,” Gines said. “The next thing you know, it was ‘That’s it.’ I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, what am I going to do.’” Gines said he still hasn’t figured out the answer.
Gines is among about 370,000 people in 23 states whose extended unemployment benefits abruptly expired from April 7 to May 12, according to estimates from the National Employment Law Project, an employee-advocacy organization based in New York. The group says the numbers will continue to increase as state unemployment rates dip below thresholds required for continued federal funding. READ MORE…
STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. — Brianna Butler would prefer never again to see the inside of the DeKalb County welfare office. She is eager to work. This she says repeatedly.
But she is a 19-year-old single mother with no one to look after her 10-month-old daughter, making work essentially beyond reach. Reluctantly, she has turned to an alternative that might at least provide minimal sustenance: She is applying for monthly $235 welfare checks from the state of Georgia.
Butler is eligible for those checks. Officially, she is homeless and has no income. Most nights, she sleeps on the floor at her mother’s house in this predominantly African-American suburb of Atlanta, where 1 in 5 people live in poverty. Her mother is out of work and behind on her bills. When Butler runs out of money for baby food, she gives her daughter nothing but “water or juice for a day or two,” she says, “just to tide her over.” Read more…
The relentless push to bleed Legal Services dry
June 6, 2012 — Ask people about the things that make America a “country of laws,” and one answer you will likely get is that everyone is entitled to be represented by a lawyer of his or her choice. But that promise has little meaning to more and more families at or near the poverty level. They’re among the millions of Americans for whom having a lawyer is a luxury beyond reach. Such families cannot afford a lawyer to defend them in an eviction proceeding, to fight a wrongful denial of veteran’s benefits, or to help get a restraining order to protect against an abusive spouse. Read more…