Thursday, April 29, 2010

Illegal Immigrants Plan to Leave Over Ariz. Law

I have mixed emotions about the immigration mess in that many of the illegals are conscientious hard workers, trying to create a better living for their families, families that have very little hope of securing a decent life in their home countries. However, most of this labor is in an underground economy that does nothing to pay for the multitude of services and benefits that the illegals partake of. In addition, much of the fruits of their labor is sent directly to their homeland creating a drain on our economy of billions of dollars.

If this source of labor disappears, maybe, just maybe, wages will increase to a point where unemployed American citizens can find a job.

"Nobody wants to pick us up," Julio Loyola Diaz says in Spanish as he and dozens of other men wait under the shade of palo verde trees and lean against a low brick wall outside the east Phoenix home improvement store.

Many day laborers like Diaz say they will leave Arizona because of the law, which also makes it a crime to be in the U.S. illegally and directs police to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are illegal immigrants.

Supporters of the law hope it creates jobs for thousands of Americans.

"We want to drive day labor away," says Republican Rep. John Kavanagh, one of the law's sponsors.

An estimated 100,000 illegal immigrants have left Arizona in the past two years as it cracked down on illegal immigration and its economy was especially hard hit by the Great Recession. A Department of Homeland Security report on illegal immigrants estimates Arizona's illegal immigrant population peaked in 2008 at 560,000, and a year later dipped to 460,000.

The law's supporters hope the departure of illegal immigrants will help dismantle part of the underground economy here and create jobs for thousands of legal residents in a state with a 9.6 percent unemployment rate.

Kavanagh says day labor is generally off the books, and that deprives the state of much-needed tax dollars. "We'll never eliminate it, just like laws against street prostitution," he says. "But we can greatly reduce the prevalence.
Read article here.

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