Alabama Rings up Big Price Tag on Strict Immigration Laws

A new report looking at the benefits of Alabama’s stringent immigration laws found that the state might have a hard time finding the good from the laws when they better evaluate the law’s overall costs.

The study, “A Cost-Benefit Analysis of the New Alabama Immigration Law,” by University of Alabama professor Samuel Addy found that while the state brought the law on for reasons of increased job prospects for those with U.S. citizenship and for supposed savings that would occur from government funds not being used to support the lives of illegal immigrants, Alabama government officials will likely not find as many benefits from the new law as they originally hoped it would bring.

The law, called HB 56, has been touted as the toughest immigration enforcement law in the entire country. The law requires people in Alabama to carry legal paperwork with them at all times, and has left many “mixed families,” or those with children who are legal citizens but parents who are undocumented residents, often harboring a deep fear of separation.

In a recent Huffington Post interview, Alabama elementary school principal Bill Lawrence stated that some of his students are scared that their parents will not be home when they get back from school.

“Most of these kids are American citizens. American citizens attending American schools, afraid. A child in fear can’t learn,” Lawrence said.

Far from saving the state any money, the laws may cost more than $10.8 billion to institute. Addy estimated that up to 80,000 jobs could be vacated through the strict new laws, which would likely mean a loss of $264.5 million in state sales and income taxes, as well as $93.1 million in lost city and county sales taxes. In his lowest estimate, Addy believes that the laws will cost the state at least $2.3 billion.