Rule of Law

Discouraging Illegal Immigration and Lower Unemployment

One of the erroneous claims that is constantly heard from those who oppose enforcement of our immigration laws and support a general amnesty for illegal aliens is that the presence of illegals does not affect our record high unemployment rate. Supposedly, illegals do jobs that Americans just don’t want to do. But the facts show that may not be the case and that detaining and deporting illegal aliens, as well as punishing employers who knowingly hire illegals, could open up jobs for unemployed Americans.

More proof of that in Alabama, whose controversial immigration law became effective on September 1, 2011 (only a few of its provisions have been enjoined by a federal court). Its most important sections are in place: 1) a mandate that employers use the E-Verify system and lose their business license if they knowingly hire illegals, and 2) a requirement that local police officers check the immigration status of individuals they arrest if they have a reasonable suspicion that they are in the country illegally.

Amidst reports that illegals started leaving the state as soon as the law became effective, the Daily Caller reports that in September, the state unemployment rate was an appalling 9.8 percent. In two months, even as the Obama administration tried to stop enforcement of Alabama’s new law, the unemployment rate has fallen 1.1 percentage points to 8.7 percent. According to state news reports, this reduction is because “the state’s employers opened up jobs to Americans after shedding illegal immigrants.”

The unemployment rate in just one Alabama county fell 0.7 percentage points just in November, from 8.1 percent to 7.4 percent. Marshall County is an agricultural county with several chicken processing plants. With illegal immigrants leaving the county, over 600 legal residents have been hired. One of the county’s council members, Chuck Ellis, points to the drop in the unemployment rate as “proof that people – American Citizens [and] legal migrants, have suffered at the hands of politicians who choose politics over economics.” According to the Daily Caller story, Ellis was quoted as saying “Is that a difference of great significance? Ask those families [whose members are now employed] for an answer as they undertake the Christmas season.”

More evidence that part of solving the economic morass that we are in, and reducing our high unemployment, is enforcing our immigration laws, securing our border, and finding, detaining, and deporting illegal aliens.