Sunday, May 16, 2010

Two Years After Strict Immigration Reform, Oklahoma Is More Than OK

In all the hype about the Arizona illegal alien bill, this OK legislation has been overlooked. It is a more comprehensive bill that not only enforces Federal laws but also eliminates public assistance and job opportunities for illegals.

Numbers also disprove the liberal spin that illegals only take the jobs that citizens believe are beneath them. This article shows that lesser skilled Americans are perfectly willing to take these jobs. When businesses lose their illegal workforce, they must adjust and hire citizens, or go out of business.

Using stats over the period of years from 2007 when the bill was passed, the writer makes a solid case that this bill helped to rejuvenate the economy of Oklahoma and get its citizens back to work. Welfare and food stamp assistance decreased.

Given the economic damage inflicted on us by the current administration and many state governments, most readers of this column would probably be quite happy to live in a state where:

• The official unemployment rate in March was 6.6%.

• The average unemployment rate in 2009 using the most comprehensive definition was 10.5%, the fourth-lowest in the nation (behind three much smaller states), and far lower than the national average of 16.2%.

• The number of people either working or looking for work has actually grown during the past twelve months (in most states, the labor force has contracted significantly).

• The economy grew in 2008, and probably did so again in 2009.

Unless you live in Oklahoma, you’re not in that state.

It “just so happens” that the Sooner State passed a strict immigration enforcement measure in May 2007, which went into effect six months later. Specifically:

House Bill 1804 was passed by overwhelming majorities in both the House and Senate of the Oklahoma legislature. The measure’s sponsor, State Representative Randy Terrill, says the bill has four main topical areas: it deals with identity theft; it terminates public assistance benefits to illegals; it empowers state and local police to enforce federal immigration laws; and it punishes employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens.

Oklahoma is no longer “O.K.” for illegal aliens,
Terrill observes. “When you put everything together in context,” he contends, “the bottom line is illegal aliens will not come here if there are no jobs waiting for them, they will not stay here if there is no government subsidy, and they certainly won’t stay here if they know that if they ever encounter our state and local law enforcement officers, they will be physically detained until they’re deported. And that’s exactly what House Bill 1804 does.”

An amazing animated graphic (still available at The Mess That Greenspan Made) shows what happened in the immediate wake of 1804’s passage. It shows month-by-month changes in the unemployment rate for each state in the lower 48 states. From March 2007 to March 2008, alone among all states, Oklahoma’s unemployment rate fell significantly, especially in the final few months of the 12-month period presented — the first few months after 1804 went into effect.

Coincidence? Well, if fewer jobs are available to illegals, you would expect that lesser-skilled individuals shut out of the labor market by low, often under-the-table wages would be in a position to take them. Sadly, blacks and Hispanics in this country and in Oklahoma are likely to be disproportionately represented among the lesser-skilled, so looking at those groups’ unemployment rates will serve as a useful proxy.

Since 1804 passed, Oklahoma has not suffered nearly as much economically as most of the rest of the U.S. In fact, the state can fairly be described, especially on a relative basis, as prosperous. Even before considering the reductions in crime the citizens of Arizona are so desperately seeking in their state’s new immigration enforcement measure, what the Sooner State has done seems well worth imitating elsewhere for pocketbook-related reasons alone.

As to the legal and moral dimensions of limiting illegal immigration, I would suggest that the hand-wringers first aim their critiques at other countries which deal much more harshly with trespassers — starting with Mexico.
Read full article here.

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