Anti-immigration laws in Arizona 'have damaged state economy'
11 October 2012
For concise and recent immigration information watch our news.A new report from the right-wing think tank The Cato Institute has found that anti-immigrant legislation introduced in Arizona in 2007 and 2010 has damaged the state economy. The report, The Economic Case against Arizona's Immigration Laws, was written by Cato Institute immigration policy analyst Alex Nowrasteh.
Nowrasteh analysed Arizona's economic performance after it passed two pieces of legislation designed to make life so uncomfortable for illegal immigrants that they would 'self-deport'. In 2007 the state passed the Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA). This law was designed to drive illegal immigrants out of the state by making life economically difficult for them.
LAWA introduced the 'business death penalty' which would force a business to close down if it knowingly employed illegal immigrant labour on two occasions. It also made it compulsory for businesses to check all new staff against the E-Verify electronic database of US workers to ensure that they had the right to work in the US. These provisions, Nowrasteh says, made it expensive and risky for businesses to hire new staff.
Speaking to Alyona Minkovski on her discussion show on Huff Post Live, Nowrasteh said that, after LAWA was introduced in 2007, the number of businesses formed and registered over the next year in Arizona fell by 15% from the number the previous year.
He denied that the slowdown in Arizona was caused by the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market. He said that, in other, similar, states nearby, where there were no anti-immigrant laws enacted, business registrations remained at broadly the same level over the same period.
The problem was made even worse, he said, in 2010 when Arizona introduced Senate Bill 1070. This law attempted to force illegal immigrants out of the state by using police powers to make life as difficult as possible for them.
The two laws led to many illegal immigrants leaving the state. This, in turn, led to a collapse in property prices as property lay vacant, says Nowrasteh.
Shikha Dalmia of the Reason Foundation, another right wing, free-trade think tank told Alyona Minkovski, 'the most vibrant cities are ones where there is a large immigrant presence. It is not smart for cities and states to drive these people out.' She added 'there is an undeniable correlation between immigration and economic vibrancy.'
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