December 29, 2011


How not to fix the immigration system (Chicago Tribune, December 29, 2011)

Arizonans are rethinking their harsh stance. Immigrant-friendly governments, companies and individuals boycotted the state, costing it hundreds of millions in tourism, conventions and sales. More than 100,000 Hispanics left the state -- exactly as the law intended -- but businesses weren't happy to see them go. Besides being a source of cheap, reliable labor, immigrants are consumers too.

With another round of restrictive measures teed up in the legislature earlier this year, Arizona's business leaders called for a timeout. The bills, which would have denied birth certificates to children of undocumented parents and banned illegal immigrants from driving, among other things, were defeated.

In November, Senate President Russell Pearce, the mouthpiece of the anti-immigrant movement, became the first state legislator in Arizona history to be removed from office via a recall election. He was replaced by a candidate who favors a more balanced approach to immigration reform.

Some Alabama leaders are having second thoughts too. Dubbed the "Juan Crow law," their measure is meant to intimidate immigrants into fleeing the state by, for example, requiring schools to check the residency status of students and their parents -- even though the Supreme Court has long held that children are entitled to a public education regardless of their immigration status. Fearful parents have responded by keeping their kids out of school.

A worker exodus has left farmers and poultry plants without enough help.
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Posted by at December 29, 2011 8:24 AM

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