Monday, October 17, 2011

Reaping the Whirlwind of Alabama's Draconian Immigration Laws

Crops rot in the fields. Apartments and mobile homes stand empty.  Restaurants and grocery stores are noticeably less busy, and in many cases employees just didn't show up.  Some neighborhoods look abandoned.

Alabama passed one of the strictest immigration enforcement laws in the country and a federal judge upheld most of the provisions.  Now police can ask for "papers" during routine traffic stops and city services are unavailable to undocumented families.  The result was thousands of undocumented immigrants just left the state.

Perhaps that is what the lawmakers envisioned when they wroth the draconian laws, but the unintended consequences may be worse than the "problem" the law was written to fix.

In a New York Times report, John Weathers, an Albertville businessman who rents and has sold houses to many Hispanic residents, said his occupancy had suddenly dropped by a quarter and might drop further, depending on what happens in the next week.

Across the state, 1,988 Hispanic students were absent from public schools on Friday, about 5 percent of the entire Hispanic population of the school system. 

Pets have been abandoned, and some homes were just left unlocked and empty.

Many contractors and home builders, say the measure has already been devastating.  Jobs will remain unfilled until skilled labor can be found to replace the thousands who have left the state.

After a few months of living without the thousands of undocumented immigrants who did much of the menial and skilled jobs in Alabama, I suspect the citizens will be thinking very hard about the wisdom of their elected officials.  So far there are not lines of legal Alabaman's lining up to fill the positions.  

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