Sometimes, It Comes Back to Bite You in the You-Know-What

It’s no secret that Arizona’s mean-spirited Immigration law was prompted primarily by animus against brown folks. The state that nurtured racist sheriff Joe Arpaio saw much of the law struck down by the Supreme Court last term (oh, that pesky 4th Amendment!), but not after beginning to see what policy wonks like to call–delicately–negative unintended consequences.

Now the libertarian Cato Institute has issued an analysis of Arizona’s SB 1070, titled “The Economic Case against Arizona’s Immigration Laws.” The upshot: the laws did–and continue to do–grave damage to the state’s economy. According to Cato, the 2012 “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” joined with the (less Soviet-sounding) earlier “Legal Arizona Workers Act” to raise the costs of hiring all¬†employees and create what Cato calls “regulatory uncertainty for employers,” driving many out of the states. Cato’s findings are consistent with headlines a couple of months back pointing to the problem faced by state farmers who could not find laborers willing to pick their crops; a significant amount of produce ended up rotting on the ground.

According to the Cato report,

“SB 1070’s enforcement policies outside the workplace drove many unauthorized immigrants from the state, lowered the state’s population, hobbled the labor market, accelerated residential property price declines, and exacerbated the Great Recession in Arizona.”

Ain’t karma a bitch?


  1. Are you kidding me? It’s also no secret that steadfastly refusing to do anything about our border problem has perpetuated the drug trade and slavery in this nation. Furthermore, violence along the border is far in excess of what you’d find just about anywhere in the Middle East.

    Saying Arizona’s immigration law is ‘mean-spirited’ and conceived because of animosity toward ‘brown men’ is as stupid as saying that YOU must be pro-slavery because you oppose any and all attempts by states to fix what the federal government has failed to address. It’s a state that’s nearly HALF minority, the largest minority demographic of course being Hispanics. So are Hispanics scared of themselves now? Come on…

  2. I believe I read that the essence of their law was written by lobbyists for the FOR PROFIT prison system. They saw it as a GREAT way to fill their profit making prisons. Has anyone else run into that notion? Is it true?

  3. Marco…where to begin

    1. Funny, none of Arizona’s attempts to legislate immigration at the state level seem to have involved stern punishments for people who HIRE undocumented workers. None of them. Because I guess that isn’t as dramatic as getting to round up brown people or harass brown people to “show their papers”

    2. Leaving aside the hyperole about violence on the border, could it possibly be our draconian and over the top drug laws are actually the culprit for drug related violence instead of the strength or weakness of our borders? Funny, when Prohibition was lifted in the 30’s, the amount of alcohol-related mob violence evaporated overnight. You cut down the cartels by making their “product” less profitable when you lift the laws and eliminate the need for a drug related black market.

    3. The fact that Arizona is almost half Latino is exactly why the GOP is rushing to pass these laws. They want to make sure that even legally residing Latinos understand what their place is.

  4. Pete,

    1. Obviously you aren’t familiar with how many of these laws are written and the nature of their enforcement. It can be very simple to tell if someone is an illegal immigrant and many states, including Indiana, have passed laws to combat it (such as various statutes governing false identification.) I would encourage you to do some research before using such incendiary language.

    2. No. You’re attempts to compare alcohol with hard narcotics like cocaine and heroin simply don’t hold water. From useage/addiction ratios to social impact to the root pharmacology, it’s a false comparison. See studies such as the Needle Park Project if you don’t believe me. And don’t worry about addressing the human trafficking thing, must not be too big of a deal.

    3. Easily the silliest thing I’ve read in quite some time. No proof, no evidence, just “well, they’re Republicans, OBVIOUSLY they’re racist.” Check your bigotry at the door next time you comment if you want to have a meaningful discussion. That kind of hatred left the mainstream a long time ago.

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