In a Nation of Immigrants, Being Anti-Immigration is a Loser

by David Bier on December 13, 2011 · 3 comments

in Economy, International, Labor, Mobility

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As most of the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination try to outdo each other in blasting undocumented immigrants, they should take a break to look at new survey data from Vanderbilt University that show that anti-immigration rhetoric costs Republicans votes among Hispanics, the nation’s fastest growing ethnic minority — including third- and fourth-generation ones.

As Vanderbilt Political Science Professor Efren Perez explains, the data show that, “[W]hen politicians make very aggressive references to illegal immigrants, they are in essence turning off many Latinos, a growing segment of the American electorate…. There are many third and fourth generation Latinos who have very little connection to Latin America anymore. These folks are very integrated into American society. They are business owners and might be more responsive to Republican ideas and principles.”

But Republicans aren’t taking advantage of this fact. President Obama’s approval rating among Latinos is at an all-time low, and for good reason. He is on pace to deport more undocumented immigrants in one term — over 1.5 million — than President Bush did in two. Meanwhile, Republicans are offering more of the same, and it is costing them politically. According to a Latino Decisions poll, 72 percent of Latinos feel that Republicans either don’t care or are hostile toward the Hispanic community.

Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio has urged his colleagues to try a different strategy. “The Republican Party should not be labeled as the anti-immigration party,” he said recently. “Republicans need to be the pro-legal immigration party.” It’d be a winning move. When George W. Bush made substantial overtures to Hispanics, including an attempted immigration reform, he won 44 percent of the Latino vote and thus reelection. Most notably, he won Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado, all states won by Obama in 2008.

Moreover, state-level anti-immigration laws, such as those in Alabama and Arizona, actually undermine law enforcement. As the Associated Press reported this week, “[L]ocal police may focus on enforcing the state law rather than concentrating illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes.” Maintaining the status quo immigration restrictions ultimately makes criminals harder to distinguish by diverting law enforcement to go after non-violent undocumented workers.

What Americans care about — particularly Latinos whose unemployment levels are higher than average — is a prosperous economy, and the radical enforcement measures endorsed by  many of the Republican candidates will not help. The evidence is already pouring in from around the country: Anti-immigration laws in Arizona, Georgia, and Alabama are wreaking havoc on those states’ economies. All three of those states have seen crops rot as labor shortages created by the new laws have taken effect.

The Guardian reports the case of one Alabama farmer who has lost $100,000 worth of tomatoes after the new law passed. As workers fled Georgia, Governor Nathan Deal turned to using ex-convicts on probation to pick crops. But slave labor won’t cut it. The AP found that the Latino workers were nearly six times as productive as the probationers.

It’s not just labor shortages either. The draconian penalties are scaring off businesses. The chief executive of the Retirement Systems of Alabama, David Bronner, has said that the law drove BBVA Compass out of state, and thus abandon plans to build an $80 million bank tower in Birmingham. Bonner has also said that Golden Dragon Precise Copper Tube Group “is having second thoughts” about building $100 million plant due the new law.

Draconian regulations on businesses and human movement are not conservative. E-Verify and other laws like it won’t revitalize the economy or solve the immigration problem because the problem isn’t caused by a lack of enforcement efforts (see Obama), but by massively restrictive limits on legal immigration. Any successful candidate needs to recognize that prosperous countries are built by free labor markets, not walls keeping people out.

nomoreimmigrants December 13, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Your entire article is garbage and full of phony info. SB1070 has not rotted crops or hurt Arizona’s economy in fact lots of illegals moved out of state because of it, opening jobs for Americans. No it has been a blessing Spanish is no longer the main language of walmart and that is beautiful. We Americans don’t agree with your sentimate here, why do you think we vote laws like SB1070 in?

SandySwarthster December 13, 2011 at 3:53 pm


The Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA) in 2007 has resulted in massive damages to AZ’s agricultural economy. In 2010, there were about 17,900 fewer acres of Arizona land under cultivation compared to 2007 when LAWA was passed. That’s because the price and scarcity of laborers has made fruit and vegetable cultivation in Arizona less profitable. About 3/4 of agricultural workers are undocumented immigrants, without them the agricultural industry would shrink substantially in the U.S. and instead expand in economies with lower labor costs. Is that the type of outcome you want? Arizonans supported a massive government regulation on immigration that is causing much harm to their agriculture, it’s about time you deal with reality instead of living in a fantasy land where there are no costs to any of the silly laws you support.

Dave Francis December 13, 2011 at 6:49 pm

With the catastrophe escalating over illegal immigration, there seems to be only a few new laws that formulate any sense to the American people. To stop both parties from superseding any previous laws from Congress, the only possible way to stop illegal immigration, is at the source? That is the business who hires illegal labor, and controlling it with the mandatory law titled ‘The Legal Workforce ACT’ (Bill H.R 2885.) Commonly known as E-Verify that will identify foreign nationals, sneaking into the workplace with stolen ID or whoever procured. Lamar Smith of Texas was the originator of the law, which had been created as a pilot program by former President Bush. To contain the Liberal Progressives in the Obama Administration from suing Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, Utah, Georgia for trying to save further erosion of state funds by illegal aliens, they were forced to enact strictly policing laws. The courts have used their empowerment to place a huge burden on citizens and residents many unfunded mandates, with little financial aid from the government covering three decades.

The bounty for illegal aliens who reach these shores, cross borders or deliberately enter under false pretenses from international flights is over a hundred billion dollars a year and rising per annum. Today it has emasculated states like California, Nevada and Texas. The only way to find a way out of this disorder is not through Former Speaker Newt Gingrich ideology, but through strict recourse of enforcing our laws. Since the 1986 Immigration Control and Reform Act nobody in Washington had had the people’s welfare in mind, until the sudden exploitation by foreign nationals on Arizona.

While the Supreme Court fumbles over Arizona’s SB 1070 tough enforcement bills, we have a limited time to press for passage of E-Verify. Otherwise SCOTUS, could swing every way and America could find our ‘Rule of Law” by states becomes even more restrictions. Numerous states who are adverse to Obama National Health Care, we can effuse the House of Representatives pass the ‘The Legal Workforce ACT’ Ongoing as it is, the law to be read needs only 30 more co-sponsor out of a 100. Just yesterday a second Democrat Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) has added his name to the list. It’s been hard going, but thousands of well-informed Americans see this as a deterrent to claiming back payroll jobs, to US workers. Much more can be read about the nationwide E-Verify program by going to the NumbersUSA website. You can also participate by call you’re US or state Senator or Congressman at 202-224-3121. This is your connection to Washington and the operator will direct you to every politician’s office.

There are 20 million Americans out of work and you can help supply a job, which is at the moment held by illegal aliens. On a wide scale as ICE has completed an assault on suspicious business, as illegal labor has been caught, those jobs have rapidly been filled by authorized individuals. Legal Blacks, Hispanics, White, Middle Easterners, African countries and others to claimed a job. The E-Verify program will even open more jobs to the 22 million people who are waiting.

A second bill that has 80 sponsors is H.R.140, titled the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011, which was introduced on Jan 5. 2011, by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) as of last month. This will ascertain that a baby smuggled into our nation, for the sole purpose of illegal parents to take advantage of the taxpayers. From the time of entry the parent can collect public entitlement, using the child as a fulcrum to remain here. Benefits will accumulate over many years of health care, education and further welfare supplements.

If you believe in the ‘Rule of Law’ as established in the Constitution, you should join one of the thousands of local chapter of the TEA PARTY. The splinter party of the established Republican is adamant against any form of Amnesty, illegal Sanctuary cities and the Dream Act.

Attn: Don’t let the Communist Chinese get their hands on the Canadian ‘Keystone Pipeline”. The President is likely to veto it, if it goes to Obama from signing. We are being held hostage by the powerful environmentalists, who would see our country begging for oil from countries, which are none to friendly towards us.

Don’t be fooled—illegal aliens are voting in our election and escaping prosecution. Democrats have illustrated that they do not care, if federal and state law is violated.

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