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The high costs of immigration enforcement

A handful of communities across the country have attempted to and in many cases successfully enacted a series of immigration controls that stoke fear in Latino and immigrant communities. But a report from the Center for American Progress found that these communities spend millions of dollars defending these unconstitutional statutes in court. This drains strained budgets, depresses local economies, and divides communities along racial and ethnic lines.

A combination of factors have left immigrants as vulnerable scapegoats and spurred several communities to take federal immigration law into their own hands, including the fallout from the economic crisis and ensuing unemployment rates as well as inaction at the federal level on immigration reform.

The report makes clear that these local enforcement measures come with substantial costs that quickly add up. Arizona will see a loss of $388 million in economic output due to lost conferences and business meetings over the next two to three years due to its immigration law, SB 1070. The state is expected to lose $133 million in lost wages over the next two to three years due to the law. Farmers Branch, Texas has incurred more than $4 million since 2006 in legal fees to defend its anti-immigration statute, and Hazelton, Pennsylvania has spent $2.8 million defending its immigration control ordinance.

“Measures like these will bust your bank account,” said Angela Kelley, Vice President for Immigration Policy and Advocacy at CAP, in a press call in January. “Jurisdictions will spend substantial sums of money to pursue proposals that are in most cases going to lose in the courts.”

What’s more, local immigration enforcement measures can cause an exodus of immigrants from the town, which leads to loss of business and lost tax revenues. “When the buying power leaves the community and the small businesses lose that buying power and consumers, they close and the home foreclosures become exacerbated,” said Prince William County, Virginia supervisor Frank Principi during the press call with Kelley, explaining the effects of a local ordinance Prince William adopted in 2007.

But that’s not all. Local immigration measures also have heavy social costs. Laws that target immigrants create deep racial divisions within communities that can take many years to overcome. Tomball, Texas shelved a proposal to make English the official language due to the divisions such a measure would create.

A recent report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, or SPLC, explains that these anti-immigrant ordinances have roots in the Nativist Movement. Prominent nativist organizations such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which the SPLC designates as a hate group, and well-known nativist Kris Kobach, the current Kansas secretary of state and architect of Arizona’s SB 1070, are the brains behind many of the laws.

Communities like Tomball, Texas and Prince William County, Virginia have realized the financial and social damage done by such ordinances and have scratched plans to implement them. Other communities considering taking immigration enforcement into their own hands should take note. The real solution to our broken immigration system lies in the hands of Congress and not with state and local governments.

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This article was published by the Center for American Progress.

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1 comment on this story

Mar 8, 2011, 1:20 pm
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Nowadays it is bad news for all those illegal nationals who entered this country, without permission. State laws are tightening up, as the feds have refused to tackle this battle ground Issue.  A few States are going against the grain of most US citizens and legal residency. Those particular States as Utah and Washington State are soon going to be painfully aware, as the word gets around of poorly enforced laws. Supplementary States that are leaving the illegal alien floodgates open will also be paying dearly, which means fiscal suffering for their legal people.  Better be ready for an onslaught of economic thunder as they head your way? It will not be pleasant as Americans will unseat the pro-illegal alien politicians, who crushed any chance of constructive restrictions. California—the well and truly tested Sanctuary state must now pick the pockets of taxpayers again, because illegal workers and families have flooded in and drained part of the 46 billion deficits the state is facing.

This also goes for billions of welfare dollars spent in the illegal alien high population state of Nevada. But now with a few more less restricting States, thousands will constantly leave the original policing State of Arizona and head outwards?  As with Governor of New Mexico who has been less happy with the circumstances of handing out drivers licenses under the previous Governors watch of Gov. Bill Richardson and therefore many will also pack up and move on from there. Currently illegal migrants and immigrants have unlimited access to welfare entitlements, schooling and free health care and Include the obvious costs of jail and imprisonment. Birthright citizenship will be having its day in court. Even if it is not amended, the parents—HAVE NO RIGHTS TO STAY—and should be deported. The bill currently has 68 cosponsors and will amend current U.S. code to entail at least one parent to be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident for a new born to obtain automatic citizenship.

You as a heavily laden taxpayer should incessantly harass your representative and demand their sponsorship for an amendment. Another controversial bill that will also save federal and State taxpayers is ending “Chain Migration.”  There is a mounting list of 21 co-sponsors for Rep. Phil Gingrey’s Nuclear Family Priority Act (H.R.692) that would end chain migration. H.R.692 would purge all family-preference visa classes, except for spouses and minor children, and creating a renewable visa class for parents. Of course the radical Liberal other side under the pretense of polling people by the University of Texas and Texas Tribune has addressed the subject of 14th Amendment. Not only did these two parties misinform the public being asked, but also misrepresented the act of the birthright citizenship law. Anybody can engineer the questions asked to get a favorable answer in any poll.

Something that the Leftists progressives have intentionally forgot in their radical diatribe, that although The Fourteenth Amendment extends citizenship to all persons born in the U.S. and “subject to the jurisdiction thereof”; but it also grants Congress the power to enforce and define the necessities of the amendment. The US Constitution also grants us free speech. So if you are against supporting financially anymore the illegal immigration invasion? First you can join NumbersUSA and not only fax for free the Congress, but join millions of Americans who want to halt this continuous travesty by Liberal politicians. You can also become a member of the local TEA Party with a huge influence gaining momentum in Washington, to stop the Tax and Spend Liberal-Democrats.

Add your voice to the uncountable numbers of people who are fed up with illegal’s stealing their jobs, lowering wages. Here is also the Washington Switchboard number 202-224-312 to bombard your unconcerned Senate and House. Personally, I’m thoroughly frustrated and furious that we must educate the children of illegal immigrant, and pay for their health care; when we cannot even pay for our own families needs?

News of Today: America has the biggest deficit in US history and owned financially by China.
SAVE YOUR JOBS! Buy American, if it’s possible.

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Protesters oppose a Utah immigration bill in 2010.