Byline: TERESA STEPZINSKI
As long as there is a financial incentive and opportunity to make a better life for themselves and their families, immigrants will continue to live and work in the region, according to economists and social workers.
Few people question that a proposed general amnesty for illegal immigrants would have a substantial trickle effect on the region's economy, social services and culture. But the extent of that impact is difficult to predict, said professors at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro with expertise in those issues.
Immigration basically is an economic issue, said professor Anthony Barilla, a labor economist.
Businesses generally benefit from illegal immigrants because they are a cheap labor force who fill jobs that American workers don't want to do, he said.
Because they are in the country illegally, immigrants don't get workers' compensation if hurt on the job or other health benefits for themselves or their families. That also lowers the employer's operating costs, Barilla said. …