In April of this year, Jan Brewer signed Arizona’s controversial anti-immigrant bill into law. It was hailed by conservatives far and wide as a great first step in closing our border to keep Mexicans from taking our jobs and using our services. And at least 12 more states are considering similar legislation.
So how is 1070 actually working out?
In the 7 months since its signing, many of the most controversial parts of the law have not yet gone into effect, and the state has spent more than $10 million to defend the law in courts. An estimated 100,000 undocumented workers have fled the state to find jobs elsewhere, taking with them the money they paid for rent, clothing, groceries, gasoline and more. A very conservative estimate of the financial loss to the state would be somewhere in the vicinity of $4 million. And their contributions as a workforce to the state could be estimated at more than 10 times that. In addition, the law has led to boycotts from other states and cities which has already cost our tourism industry more than $141 million. Add to that the jobs lost in the tourist industry and the cost rises to more than $250,000. Based on the latest estimates, the new law has cost Arizona nearly $500 million!
“But certainly the state has seen some benefits from the law, too,” you say.
Not really. It has served to create distrust between Arizona’s white population and Latino population. The law has turned many other states and cities against us. And the drug war still rages along the border, fueled by American guns and our insatiable appetite for illegal drugs.
The only ones who seem to have benefited from the law are Jan Brewer, John McCain, Russell Pearce, and other right-wing Arizona politicians who used scare tactics related to the law to get themselves re-elected. Which is no doubt the over-riding reason for passing the law in the first place.