Photo: Alabama Immigration Law Protest
As news continues to highlight the devastation incurred by Alabama in the wake of its “Arizona on steroids” anti-immigration law, new comments by a leading anti-immigration advocate underscore an important point. In their obsession with “illegal” immigration, the anti-immigrant forces and the mostly Republican backers of laws advancing their mass-deportation agenda are well-aware and seem quite comfortable with the range of negative effects wrought by such measures. As we’re seeing this week, these negative effects extend far beyond the targeted undocumented immigrant population and reach young school children, business owners and farmers, state taxpayers, legal immigrants, and the state’s reputation.
In a post on National Review’s blog, “The Corner,” Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) reacted to a story in the New York Times that highlighted the devastation this law is already having on one Alabama town by exclaiming “that’s the point.” Wrote Krikorian, “It’s obviously presented as a terrible thing, but this is exactly the point of such measures — attrition through enforcement.”
As we’ve noted in the past, “attrition through enforcement” is just another way of saying “mass-deportation,” or, “kick ‘em all out.”
As a new Associated Press piece highlights, but Krikorian and others fail to admit, laws designed to kick out undocumented immigrants don’t end there. They also drive out legal immigrants who no longer feel welcome in the state, destroy agriculture and other labor-intensive industries, and harm a state’s reputation. As the AP piece notes, the new law in Alabama “may be backfiring. Intended to force illegal workers out of jobs, it is also driving away many legal immigrant workers who work in construction and on farms doing backbreaking jobs that Americans generally won’t. The vacancies have created a void that will surely deal a blow to the state’s economy and could slow the rebuilding of Tuscaloosa and other tornado-damaged cities. Employers believe they can carry on because of the dismal economy, but when things do turn around, they worry there won’t be anyone around to hire. Many legal Hispanic workers are fleeing the state because their family and friends don’t have the proper papers and they fear they will be jailed.”
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund: “Anti-immigration activists applauding the devastation and turmoil that Latino families in Alabama are experiencing today due to the state’s anti-immigration law have no shame. We’re talking about school children and fathers and mothers who are just trying to make a living. We’re talking about farmers who are just trying to get their crops picked. This law is Armageddon on Alabama communities, and restrictionists like Mark Krikorian are cheering its effects. They’re also pushing to bring their dark vision for America to all fifty states. America has to stand up to their restrictionist vision for immigration policy; we are better than this.”