Friday, February 22, 2008

Forget the ‘carrot and the stick’ approach; just eliminate the carrot

Arizona and Oklahoma have shown us how to reduce the number of illegal aliens in our country. Since the federal government does not have the will power to take effective action, both states have taken it upon themselves to deal with the problem and results indicate their approach is effective. What they do is simple; instead of the carrot and stick approach, they just eliminate the carrot.

For the first time, Mexican officials in these states admit there is hard evidence illegal immigrants are preparing to leave because new employer sanctions laws are making it difficult, if not impossible, for them to keep a job.

In Phoenix, Arizona, illegal immigrants are flooding the Mexican consulate for documents that will allow them to return to Mexico to enroll their children in school, according to the consul to Arizona, Carlos Flores Vizcarra. They are also requesting a document called "menaje de casa," which allows illegal immigrant families living in the U.S. to cross into Mexico without paying a tax on their furniture and personal belongings. Vizcarra said 94 families asked the embassy for students transfer documents last month, compared to only three last year. He said several thousand immigrants asked for the tax document.

Edmundo Hidalgo of the non-profit immigrant support group Chicanos Por La Causa, told Fox News 30,000 illegal immigrants said in a survey last week that they planned to leave Arizona sometime before March 1, when the state's tough new employer sanctions law goes into effect. Under the law, employers can lose their business licenses if they hire undocumented workers.

Everybody’s hero, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, has set up a hotline for citizens to report on employers who hire illegal aliens. He has said enforcement will begin when the law goes into effect. Many deputies have also been given arrest authority by Customs and Border Protection to enforce federal immigration law. So in the course of a traffic stop, illegal immigrants without a driver's license could ultimately face deportation. These factors, combined with a slowing economy, are forcing many illegal immigrant workers to consider leaving Arizona. According to a study last year, 12 percent of Arizona's workforce is in the U.S. illegally, the highest percentage in the nation.

Rosa Soto Moreno, who runs a Catholic shelter that provides food and lodging for illegal immigrants, said in the last month, for every five immigrants trying to enter the U.S., four were crossing back in the other direction. "Many of their supervisors are upset by the law, but have told their workers they have no choice," she said.

Oklahoma has had similar results after enacting laws to penalize employers for hiring illegal aliens.

According to ‘Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigrant Population Residing in the United States: 1990 to 2000; Office of Policy and Planning, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (1999)’, the number of illegal aliens ‘self deported’ in 1999 (the last year for which statistics are available) is 183,000. This number will surely grow as laws like those recently passed in Arizona and Oklahoma take effect. Imagine the result if the federal government actually enforced its similar laws.

Since Washington won’t do what it should, California should also pass laws to curb the growth of the illegal immigrant population. The Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies reported that not only does the state have the largest number of illegal immigrant residents at just fewer than 10 million, but the highest proportion in all states at 27.6 percent.

The data are found in what CIS characterizes as “a profile of America’s foreign-born population,” a 40-page compendium of data, that overall, immigrants, both legal and illegal, account for 12.6 percent of the nation’s population, less than half of the proportion in California. When the children of immigrants are added, the numbers grow larger, approaching 38 percent of California’s nearly 38 million residents. Other data on births, deaths and domestic migration patterns indicate that more than half of the 500,000-plus babies born in California each year have immigrant mothers and that those babies and immigration together account for virtually all of the state’s population growth.

The CIS study also found in its analysis of census data that Latin America – and especially Mexico – is the largest single source of immigration to the United States. Mexico alone accounts for nearly a third of legal and illegal immigration to the country and its share after 2000 is climbing. Among other things, the study found that immigrants are somewhat more likely to be in poverty than native-born U.S. residents (15.2 percent vs. 11.4 percent) and immigrants’ median incomes (full-time workers) are also about one-fourth lower. That being the case, although it is often said that illegal immigrants come to the United States for a ‘better life’, the reality is that the dream they leave their country and family for, may be illusory.

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