The New York Times has a growing reputation as a lagging indicator. Almost six months after the Arizona Republic noticed that a series of tough anti-illegal-immigration state laws had provided an incentive for noticeable attrition by illegal aliens, the Paper of Record has finally reported on the phenomenon. It’s like the surge — only on domestic policy, and it comes at an odd time:
The signs of flight among Latino immigrants here are multiple: Families moving out of apartment complexes, schools reporting enrollment drops, business owners complaining about fewer clients.
While it is too early to know for certain, a consensus is developing among economists, business people and immigration groups that the weakening economy coupled with recent curbs on illegal immigration are steering Hispanic immigrants out of the state.
The Arizona economy, heavily dependent on growth and a Latino work force, has been slowing for months. Meanwhile, the state has enacted one of the country’s toughest laws to punish employers who hire illegal immigrants, and the county sheriff here in Phoenix has been enforcing federal immigration laws by rounding up people living here illegally.
Arizona passed their laws three years ago, but had some obstacles in the courts in implementing them. Now that they have begun enforcement efforts, the results seem clear: enforcement works. They have taken away one of the magnets of illegal immigration, employment, and undocumented workers have found themselves with little reason to remain in the US.
Of course, this being the New York Times, the story has to include how enforcing laws creates pain and hardship. The story focuses on a legal immigrant who has lived in the US for 24 years but who may move to Mexico — because his wife is here illegally. He has no family in Mexico, so he is at loose ends. No one apparently bothered to ask why he didn’t have his wife straighten out her legal status years ago so the problem would have been resolved by now.
Another story gets a strange mention:
Elizabeth Leon, a legal immigrant and day care worker, said the families of two of her charges abruptly left, forcing the state to take custody of the children.
They abandoned their children on the way out of the US? This is supposed to make us sympathetic?
All of this serves as backdrop to the effort yesterday by Democrats to restart the immigration debate in the House. Once again, they want to provide temporary visas to any illegal immigrant that can prove they have a job. “Temporary” in this case means five years, but even that is secondary to the de facto legalization that will take place in the issuance of the visa. It will once again instigate a flood of illegal immigration across the still-unsecured southern border, prompting millions more to apply for the “temporary” visas and legalize their status in the US.
This probably has Democrats thinking they can embarrass John McCain, but it really just provides him an opportunity to shore up some conservative support by opposing it. McCain says he now will do nothing towards any legalization until the border is secured. If he opposes this new effort at amnesty by the Democrats, it will give him a significant argument towards showing he learned his lesson on immigration last year.