Arizona would go broke if all the illegal immigrants left the stateby Hugh Holub on Apr. 02, 2011, under immigration law reform, politics, SB 1070
The Center for American Progress…a progressive think tank… offers a study showing that if Arizona succeeded in getting rid of all the illegal immigrants in the state, Arizona’s economy would tank.
The report claims that deporting all the illegal immigrants in Arizona would:
- Decrease total employment by 17.2 percent
- Eliminate 581,000 jobs for immigrant and native-born workers alike
- Shrink state economy by $48.8 billion
- Reduce state tax revenues by 10.1 percent
Our national debate over urgently needed immigration reform is now careening through our state legislatures, city halls, and town councils due to political gridlock at the federal level. And nowhere is that debate more contentious than in Arizona, where in April of last year the state’s legislature sought to rid the state of undocumented immigrants with passage of S.B. 1070. The law is specifically designed to trigger a mass exodus of undocumented immigrants from the state by making “attrition through enforcement the public policy of all state and local government agencies in Arizona.”
S.B. 1070 remains unenforced due to legal challenges to its constitutionality by the U.S. Department of Justice, yet nearly a year later the Arizona State Senate appears intent on doubling down on that strategy by passing even more restrictive immigration measures. Among other things, the new push would unconstitutionally require K-12 students to prove citizenship, evict public housing tenants if an undocumented person resides there, and make it a crime to operate a vehicle while undocumented.
This crackdown may play well politically for some local elected officials but is it in the best economic interests of the state? The purpose of our new report, “A Rising Tide or a Shrinking Pie,” is to arm state legislators and their constituents across the country with an answer to that basic question. If S.B. 1070-type laws accomplish the declared goal of driving out all undocumented immigrants, what effect would it actually have on state economies? And conversely, what would the impact be on state economies if undocumented immigrants acquired legal status?
The economic analysis in this report shows the S.B. 1070 approach would have devastating economic consequences if its goals were accomplished. When undocumented workers are taken out of the economy, the jobs they support through their labor, consumption, and tax payments disappear as well. Particularly during a time of profound economic uncertainty, the type of economic dislocation envisioned by S.B. 1070-type policies runs directly counter to the interests of our nation as we continue to struggle to distance ourselves from the ravages of the Great Recession.
The Wahington Post picked up on the report…
…The report, “A Rising Tide or a Shrinking Pie,” shows that the effect of full-scale deportation of illegal immigrants in Arizona would be tantamount to a major recession, quite possibly more severe that that of 2008-09. Undocumented workers, who make up 7 percent of Arizona’s population and 9.4 percent of its workforce, are critical to the state’s economic health; not only do they do vital jobs that others will not, they also shop, pay rent, pay taxes and sustain the jobs of many other, legal workers.
A worst-case scenario, in which all of Arizona’s 445,000 illegal immigrants are deported, is highly unlikely. If it did take place, however, Arizona’s economy would shrink by nearly 20 percent, total employment would contract by 17 percent and state tax revenue would be slashed by 10 percent, the report estimates. Deporting even a third of Arizona’s illegal immigrants would cost the state $1 billion in annual revenue…..
Maybe that’s why this year’s bundle of anti-immigrant legislation died at the state legislature….