Tuesday, February 12, 2008
With the many state and local governments passing laws seeking to discourage undocumented immigrants from living and working in their jurisdictions, there have been a number of reports that immigrants are moving out of those jurisdictions in large numbers. Here is an article from the N.Y. Times about evidence of immigrants leaviing Arizona, which has a new immigration law that just survived a legal challenge in the courts and is facing an economic slowdown.
This blogger is skeptical that the state and local measures will have a long term effect on the size of the undocumented population in the United States. We shall see, of course. In the short term, the tight economy will diminish the demand for workers and will tend to discourage increased labor migration to the United States. However, when the economy returns to normal, my bet is that the demand for labor -- and undocumented workers -- climbs again. With or without state and local laws, the U.S. economy will lure immigrant workers -- just as it has for generations.