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?