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May 13, 2008

Why Harsh Immigration Crackdowns Will Never Works

By Joshua Holland, AlterNet. Posted May 13, 2008.

"Tough-minded immigration policies keep backfiring, and the debate over them obscures the question of what really works and what doesn't.

With Washington deadlocked over immigration, states and localities have stepped into the void and passed all sorts of laws and local ordinances. They say that the states are laboratories of democracy, and the results can tell us a lot.

Arizona's new "enforcement only" immigration law, which mandates the use of an electronic verification system and subjects employers to the loss of their business license for hiring the wrong person, has turned out to be a disaster that might rank up there with the Edsel or New Coke in the pantheon of bone-headed ideas.

The state had a very low unemployment rate when the law was passed -- it was, at least in part, a "solution" to a problem they didn't have. Unemployment was at 4.1 percent when the law went into effect in January and had been at 3.7 percent when a judge upheld the measure in early 2007.

Lawmakers are now scrambling to undo the shock they've inflicted on the state as up to 8 percent of the population -- according to one estimate -- have decided to hightail it out of Arizona en masse. The people of Arizona are learning that immigrants not only supply labor, but also demand goods and services in turn -- and the labor that goes into them. They're also learning that newer immigrant communities have a mix of people with different legal status all jumbled together, and that when there is a widespread perception that politicians (and citizens) are attacking immigrants, it doesn't much matter that some differentiate between those who are "legal" and "illegal" -- Arizona is losing citizens and lawful permanent residents among that eight percent drop in population...".


Posted by VisaLawyer at May 13, 2008 06:53 AM


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