Newsletter February 2012 – Alabama’s Anti-Immigration Law is Proving Costly

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Alabama’s Anti-Immigration Law is Proving Costly

Alabama’s controversial immigration law, HB 56, has brought nothing but bad press and may have drastic economic, according to a recent article by Elizabeth Dwoskin of Bloomberg Businessweek. Under the statute, schools are required to check the immigration status of newly enrolled students. In addition, the new law also allows police to ask for documentation to prove US Citizenship or legal immigration status of anyone they suspect of being here illegally during a traffic stop. The legislators who backed the bill thought that by removing illegal immigrants who were taking jobs away from the citizens of Alabama would result in out-of-work Alabamians take the jobs once held by immigrants.

According to a study published by Center for Business & Economic Research at the University of Alabama, the law will shrink Alabama’s economy by at least $2.3 billion annually, resulting in the potential loss of no less than 70,000 jobs. Dr. Samuel Addy, an economist and director of the Center estimates that the state’s gross domestic product will decline by $2.3 billion to $10.8 billion for every year the law is in effect. This would result in a net loss of $56.7 million to $264.5 million in tax revenue.

And as Ms Dwoskin states in her article: “Many Alabamans have rejected hard, dirty, low-paying jobs that immigrants once performed: picking tomatoes, working in chicken plants, and gutting catfish. Now employers struggle to fill those positions. Despite the state’s 8.1 percent jobless rate, the four job categories that once hired most of the state’s immigrants—agriculture, construction, food service, and hospitality—employ fewer people than they did before the law went into effect.”

Similar results have been observed in other states that passed similar anti-immigration laws. Now, was it worth it?

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