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Thread: Illegal Crackdown Cripples AZ Economy

  1. #1

    Illegal Crackdown Cripples AZ Economy

    Everyone wants to get tough on Illegal immegration - no one seems to be thinking about what that means.

    [quote]
    [B]Crossing the Line?[/B]
    The economic price of Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigration.

    Terry Greene Sterling
    Newsweek Web Exclusive
    Updated: 5:57 PM ET Apr 15, 2008
    A year ago Roberto promised to pay a smuggler $1,400 for safe passage from the Mexican border to Arizona, where he heard there was plenty of work. After a punishing three-day trek through the desert, the 30-year-old Mexican citizen arrived in Phoenix and quickly obtained two jobs, one as a baker and one as a dishwasher. With his $580 weekly earnings, he paid off the smuggler and began sending money home to his wife and two children. He expected to live and work in Phoenix for years.

    Like many of the state's estimated 450,000 undocumented immigrants, Roberto (who asked that NEWSWEEK withhold his last name) is reconsidering his plans. The reason: in January a controversial state law went into effect that harshly penalizes the 150,000 businesses that employ illegal workers. First offenders face a 10-day suspension of their business license, and second offenders may have their licenses revoked permanently. Meanwhile, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been targeting illegal immigrants in a series of recent sweeps in the Phoenix area. The law—and the sheriff—have harsh critics. On April 4 Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the sheriff for potential civil rights violations. Arpaio's sweeps are "publicity stunts in an election year," Gordon tells NEWSWEEK. "But they endanger the welfare of citizens and policemen alike."

    Since the employer sanctions law went into effect, Roberto has been fired from one job because he had no documents. He quit his other job to seek higher-paying day labor, but that never panned out. Now he earns less than the meager $120 a week he made as a construction worker back in Mexico. Roberto and others like him are leaving the city and moving to other states or back across the border. While reliable statistics are impossible to come by, area businesses are starting to feel the resulting labor shortage.

    The law isn't Roberto's only foe. Anti-illegal-immigration activists have targeted the north Phoenix day labor center where he and others look for work. One of the activists is Al Roglin, 54. For the past few weeks Roglin and several other protestors have been using video cameras to record the license plate numbers and car makes of anyone driving into the center who they suspect might be a prospective employer. Roglin hands the information over to Arpaio's office. "There isn't a single person here who is opposed to legal immigration," insists Roglin, who says illegal immigrants are "vermin" invading the nation.

    Both sides of the politically charged immigration issue see the Arizona law as a test case. Business groups and immigrants' rights activists are challenging the constitutionality of the law in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Julie Pace, a Phoenix attorney for business groups, says the law encourages businesses to use an unreliable federal database, called E-Verify, that wrongly passes some undocumented workers through the system, thus allowing them to work, while blocking other workers who actually have legal status. But the law's sponsor, state representative Russell Pearce, says the system is accurate and that the criticism is unwarranted. Pearce believes Arizona's new law will eventually be seen "the most effective and nondiscriminatory" anti-illegal-immigration law in the nation.

    In the meantime, local businesses are suffering from an already tight labor market. Ann Seiden, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, says the new law has had a "significant impact" on the migration of workers out of the state. "I can't emphasize enough that the labor shortage has been severe and continues to be severe," she says.

    For example, David Jones, president of the Arizona Contractors Association, says about 35 percent of Arizona's 280,000 construction workers are Latinos, and even with a downturn in housing construction, it's hard to find workers. "We have created an atmosphere in which Latinos, whether legal or illegal, no longer feel welcome here," he says. The sheriff's sweeps involve deputies in unmarked and marked vehicles, on motorcycles, on horseback and in helicopters. Cars with Latino passengers are often stopped for minor violations, like broken taillights.

    The "climate of fear in Arizona" has also caused longtime agricultural workers to leave, says Joe Sigg, director of government relations for the Arizona Farm Bureau, a statewide coalition of farmers and ranchers. In the Yuma area, where agricultural workers earn from $10 to $19 per hour, farmers couldn't find enough laborers to harvest their lettuce crop, Sigg says. Other farmers have stopped planting labor-intensive vegetables like lettuce in favor of mechanically harvested alfalfa and wheat, and some farmers are considering selling out altogether, he says. "If the agricultural industry can't get laborers, the land will be converted to other uses and we'll put our food production at the mercy of other countries," Sigg predicts.

    The law's effects can also be seen in once thriving neighborhoods. Tom Simplot, a realtor and Phoenix City Council member who represents a heavily Latino district, blames the employer sanctions law and the fear caused by the sheriff's sweeps for driving immigrants out. Immigrant homeowners have "moved out in the middle of the night," he says, leaving behind empty houses that now attract vandals and drug dealers. Although there's no hard data yet, the sweeps have caused more migrants to leave the Phoenix area than other parts of the state, contends Michael Nowakowski, a Latino city council member. "It's scary and confusing and a waste of tax dollars," he says.

    It will take six to nine months for the hard data from housing foreclosures and apartment rentals to confirm the exodus, says Phoenix economist Elliot Pollack. The true effect of migrant flight on the state's already tight labor force may be masked by the fact that Arizona is in the grips of its worst recession since the 1970s, Pollack says. "We know people have left town, but we don't know the effect, because the economy is weak anyway," he says.

    The sheriff, who has concurrent jurisdiction to enforce laws in Phoenix and other towns in Maricopa County, says such criticism is unfounded; he's simply enforcing the law. Arpaio, who has worked out an agreement with federal authorities to catch undocumented immigrants, has turned over more than 11,300 illegal immigrants to the feds. Many of these immigrants were already in the county jail and were discovered during routine document checks. Arpaio's deputies have themselves arrested about 1,826 illegal immigrants. "I won't stop arresting illegals," Arpaio tells NEWSWEEK.

    A proposed law allowing guest workers from other countries to enter the state legally is winding its way through the Arizona legislature. But it may not come soon enough for Roberto, who plans on returning to Mexico in a few weeks if he can't find work.

    URL: [url]http://www.newsweek.com/id/132231[/url]
    [/quote]

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    Cool, now maybe poor young American can go and get jobs and learn a trade from the bottom up.

  11. #11
    Thanks for posting this vital article Bit.

    All I can say is...... :clapper: :clapper: :clapper:

    There isn't a single thing in that article, in my brief reading of it, that I was unhappy to see.

    Bout damn time.

  12. #12
    [QUOTE=Warfish;2483981]Thanks for posting this vital article Bit.

    All I can say is...... :clapper: :clapper: :clapper:

    There isn't a single thing in that article, in my brief reading of it, that I was unhappy to see.

    Bout damn time.[/QUOTE]

    I have to agree with War on this, I mean, obviously areas that are most populated with Illegals will feel an initial strain, but that will pass with time.

    It is the smartest and cheapest way to attack the problem, hit the guy who employs illegals.

    You can't blame someone for coming here illegally and trying to make money, every man with a family would do what he has to do, but you can blame the business man who is trying to obtain cheap and uninsured labor, and providing an environment that attracts illegals.

    It would be the safest and cheapest method of tackling this problem, if the work dries up and they leave on their own accord.

    I feel bad for "Roberto" but it isn't our responsibility to make sure that he can support his family who live in Mexico.

  13. #13
    [QUOTE=piney;2484029]
    I feel bad for "Roberto" but it isn't our responsibility to make sure that he can support his family who live in Mexico.[/QUOTE]

    what about the farms that can't find labor and close up shop?

    not a good thing with the cost of food rising like crazy

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    [QUOTE=bitonti;2484071]what about the farms that can't find labor and close up shop?

    not a good thing with the cost of food rising like crazy[/QUOTE]


    Wow, we're ****ed no Mexicans and S Americans to pick our fruit and vegs, what are we going to do. I'm guessing the same thing we use to do before illegals took away all the work from Americans. Hire Americans do to the work instead. If we really needed cheap labour we could just let the non violent prisoners volunteer to do the work so they could make a little money and cost us less in taxes. There is always away around this problem.

  15. #15
    [QUOTE=bitonti;2484071]what about the farms that can't find labor and close up shop?

    not a good thing with the cost of food rising like crazy[/QUOTE]

    Bit, it sucks, our generation is going to experience the worst of it, no doubt, but the answer isn't simply to ignore the problem or grant amnesty.

    We have already tried that.

    If a drastic shortage of workers arises we will have to get creative.

    How about using low risk prisoners as labor for farms and orchids until the ship rights itself.

    Or offering to relocate inner city families who may be recieving government aid to where the jobs are. I would rather see tax dollars used to move a family to another state and get them working rather than just to provide them with monthly income.

    Begin extending and increasing work visas to illegals already in the country. This way, instead of the Roberto's of the world leaving the country, they can apply for work visas, keep working, maybe pay a reasonable fine that can be taken out of their wages until the fine is paid up.

    If the need is there for workers I have full faith we will make sure that the workers are obtained.

    I also think that when push comes any business vital to the country would receive aid until they are able to get back on their feet. So maybe business owner Joe won't get aid but Farmer Joe would.

    The answer isn't only a choice between "economy falls apart" or "let the country be overrun with illegals"

  16. #16
    here's what you guys don't get

    no one in power cares about the American worker or even the American consumer...

    but if the American corporation is going to be effected, the government will spare no expense to make sure it's ok.

    the US gov't isn't gonna tell purdue chicken they have to go out of business because they can't use illegal meat packers anymore.

    That's what's NOT going to happen.

    You guys read the article above and applaud it, but what you are looking at is not an example to be emulated - it is a failed proof of concept in the city of Phoenix. Any macro economic pain is bad from the government's perspective. Micro economic, bah who cares. but once entire towns, cities, states, countries get effected, watch out.

    ps - no one with a college degree wants to pack meat, and these days a college degree is like a high school degree was 40 years ago.

  17. #17
    I’m definitely in the minority on this one but I agree with Bit. When it comes down to it, I don’t see how any government should be allowed to decide who you can or cannot do business with.

    As I see it, people absolutely have the right to move and live anywhere they choose and they also absolutely have the right to enter into voluntary exchanges with anyone they choose. Yeah these people are breaking the law, but the law for the most part is unreasonable. And ultimately I think our economy is actually worst off this way by interfering in the markets. Obviously there are some exceptions to this; I don’t believe in an open door policy or anything like that, the government does have a responsibility to keep some people out, terrorists and such.

  18. #18
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    The illegal thing is scary for folks here in AZ. You can't go to a home depot without getting maurauded by "day-laborers" holding up fingers and knocking on windows. I don't let my wife go to HD alone anymore. It's got to stop and in my opinion, Arpaio is doing what is right.

  19. #19
    [QUOTE=bitonti;2484129]here's what you guys don't get

    no one in power cares about the American worker or even the American consumer...

    but if the American corporation is going to be effected, the government will spare no expense to make sure it's ok.

    the US gov't isn't gonna tell purdue chicken they have to go out of business because they can't use illegal meat packers anymore.

    That's what's NOT going to happen.

    You guys read the article above and applaud it, but what you are looking at is not an example to be emulated - it is a failed proof of concept in the city of Phoenix. Any macro economic pain is bad from the government's perspective. Micro economic, bah who cares. but once entire towns, cities, states, countries get effected, watch out.

    ps - no one with a college degree wants to pack meat, and these days a college degree is like a high school degree was 40 years ago.[/QUOTE]


    I still think you are talking about it in a very exaggerated doom and gloom sort of way.

    If industries begin to suffer because they make it harder for them to hire illegals and show the potential to have a drastic effect on the countries economy the Govt will have to do something.

    If that means Purdue or the majority of farms something will have to be done.

    I refuse to live in your bleak view of Gov't where nothing will ever get done.

    I mean, you make it sound as though major cities will crumble because people can no longer hire cheap labor and nothing will be done to prevent it.

    That is ludicrous.

    You also go with the premise that there are no Americans who do not hold a college degree...

    Yes, someone with a four year degree does not want to pack meat, but what about high school drop outs and people who have no college experience? They will do what they have to do.

    I am sorry Bit, I am normally a guy who agrees with you, but I think you are dead wrong on this one.

    To think that this country will somehow collapse and no one will give a rats ass about it as long as the corporations are taken care of is just childish.

  20. #20
    [QUOTE=piney;2484189]I refuse to live in your bleak view of Gov't where nothing will ever get done. [/quote]

    You call it bleak I call it real.

    [QUOTE=piney;2484189]
    Yes, someone with a four year degree does not want to pack meat, but what about high school drop outs and people who have no college experience? They will do what they have to do.
    .[/QUOTE]

    even American high school drop outs have better options than packing meat. It's a disgusting, smelly job and if any plan involves making Americans do that job it's going to shut down major corporations. that our government cannot abide.

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