Immigration and Strongly Worded Politics Equals Disaster

Quite some time ago I wrote a piece on Hazelton, PA and Farmers Branch, TX with its enforcement of punishing landlords and employers who cater to illegal immigrants. On paper the idea is a disaster and in practice it kills local economies. The proof is in the latest report from the New York times on communities that adopted strongly worded local laws that forced the law not on the illegal immigrants but the people that might provide housing or employment to them.

Well the plan to kick out all the illegal immigrants worked and they moved out. Job well done to any local government that took this hard line stance or should I say you get what you enacted! So why are all those mom and pop shops downtown closing? Might it be that the townspeople fired some of their largest customers? Could it be that the same people that were buying in their shops every day as community members were forcibly evicted. Mega DUH!

Towns Rethink Laws Against Illegal Immigrants

Published: September 26, 2007

RIVERSIDE, N.J., Sept. 25 — A little more than a year ago, the Township Committee in this faded factory town became the first municipality in New Jersey to enact legislation penalizing anyone who employed or rented to an illegal immigrant.

Within months, hundreds, if not thousands, of recent immigrants from Brazil and other Latin American countries had fled. The noise, crowding and traffic that had accompanied their arrival over the past decade abated.

The law had worked. Perhaps, some said, too well.

With the departure of so many people, the local economy suffered. Hair salons, restaurants and corner shops that catered to the immigrants saw business plummet; several closed. Once-boarded-up storefronts downtown were boarded up again.

Meanwhile, the town was hit with two lawsuits challenging the law. Legal bills began to pile up, straining the town’s already tight budget. Suddenly, many people — including some who originally favored the law — started having second thoughts.

So last week, the town rescinded the ordinance, joining a small but growing list of municipalities nationwide that have begun rethinking such laws as their legal and economic consequences have become clearer.

“I don’t think people knew there would be such an economic burden,” said Mayor George Conard, who voted for the original ordinance. “A lot of people did not look three years out.” - New York Times

What kills me about this story is the simple fact that this is a FEDERAL GOVERNMENT problem! Local communities can enact any law they want against illegal aliens but in the same sense the community they live in will pay the price for economics 101 lessons of the local government politicians.

Illegal and legal immigrants live in one community and for the most part are peaceful participants in the world they live. Extremist will label every immigrant a terrorist and all of them are to blame for your lot in life. Wake the hell up people and look in the damn mirror. They are us! The only difference is time.

I tend to find it humorous that towns that kicked out the illegal immigrants are now boarding up their businesses. When the people that wanted them out made it illegal for them to be there the illegal aliens and legal immigrants sort of voted with their feet and immigrated out.

Board up the car parts store, poor people like new immigrants and illegal immigrants prefer to fix the old Chevy. Board up the local corner store that sold bread and milk into the wee hours of the morning because the new immigrants and illegal immigrants work long hours into the night. Board up the local shops that cater to ethnic foods and a touch of back home for legal and illegal immigrants. Coffee shops, board them up too! Jose and Miguel don’t live here any more who used to stop in every single day for a quick bite to eat and a coffee. The trickle down gets worse.

Now that all them pesky illegal immigrants are gone we don’t need those five extra cops that used to stop at the coffee shop on their breaks. Ten of the teachers at the local school can be let go because the kids are no longer there. Close up one or two of the fire stations because the need is obviously no longer there. Realty companies can start laying off sales staff because there is nobody buying the houses at the lower end of the market. No lower end market house sales means new houses will start to fade in need. Carpenters can’t find work. Over at the supermarket they can lay off many of the stores shelf stockers because the food is just not moving anymore. You get the idea.

America needs an immigration policy that is feasible and will be adaptable to the illegal aliens that are already here. This should not be the responsibility of any local communities or for that matter the states problem. This issue and the failure to fix it rests with the current President, his predecessors and those that wish to follow him in the next election.

Immigration can never be a NIMBY policy simply because they, the immigrants, legal or illegal are a large part of the economy. Thirty communities have proven this point and now they are closing down main street. Many communities will rescind the laws passed only to find that the immigrants no longer wish to be a part of that community. I know I would not!


Cross posted at Papamoka Straight Talk

11 Responses to “Immigration and Strongly Worded Politics Equals Disaster”

  1. Mat Says:

    Pre-emptive comment for Craig, Jersey and SteveIL,

    Yes I do have an advanced degree in economics with life experience and a masters degree in DAD.

  2. me Says:

    This issue and the failure to fix it rests with the current President…

    With this I must take polite but strong exception. There was no one who wanted immigration reform to pass than Bush. He was a strong supporter of the main bill in Congress and certainly would have signed any bill that passed out of Congress. His pro-immigrant stance, including undocumented visitors, is of long-standing, long before he entered the White House. It appears to me that whatever “tough stance” Bush might have ever taken was a mere ruse to gain the support of those within his own party who opposed the various reform bills…or so it seems to me.

  3. me Says:

    Correction: “There was no one who wanted immigration reform to pass than Bush” should read: There was no one who wanted immigration reform to pass more than Bush.”

  4. me Says:


    As for your qualifications on economic matters, I would never question them. I am the very last one qualified to criticize others on fiscal matters. I sit, cross-legged, at your feet, a sponge to soak-up your learning.

    And that is not an incivil attempt at being sarcastic. A bit overstated, perhaps, but true, nevertheless.

  5. me Says:

    But what is “DAD”? I flunked alphabet soup class.

  6. SteveIL Says:

    Yes I do have an advanced degree in economics with life experience and a masters degree in DAD.

    I’m wouldn’t question your knowledge of economics. But you have to figure that basing an economy on something that is illegal can lead to a disaster, such as the one you described. In this case, using illegal aliens to work at some critical businesses. And speaking of those businesses, why do you think they hired illegal workers?

    I’m with Craig; what’s DAD? I work with computers and am over-inundated with acronyms (hell, I see tons of them that are repeated for differing purposes; but, I digress).

  7. Jersey McJones Says:

    Matt, why would you preempt me? I completely agree with you. What have I ever said that would make you think otherwise?


  8. Matthew O'Keefe Says:

    The big picture is the local economy. When you look around your little part of the world you don’t see much. When you look past the windows of your kitchen you see your neighbors. Born here, legal immigrant or illegal immigrant they are here. Everyone pays into the economy that is America because that is the way our system works. From paying tolls on the highways to buying a simple cup of coffee the dollars are spent back into the community.

    Legislating laws against illegal immigrants against landlords that provide a roof or mom and pop stores that provide a low wage job will always have an exit stratedgy to the next town or county. Illegal immigrants are not leaving, they just move on. In the haste to solve a FEDERAL GOVERNMENT problem local communities driven by a smear tactic against any immigrants are labeling them all not worthy to exist.

    I would move too if I were in the same postion.

  9. SteveIL Says:

    Matthew, you didn’t answer my question:

    And speaking of those businesses, why do you think they hired illegal workers?

    Don’t give a “big picture” answer that is, in actuality, wrong. Why would businesses in Farmers Branch, Texas hire illegal aliens to work there?

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