Friday, April 15, 2011

Illegal Immigration Backlash-Coming Soon to your state?

This will be a very short post (by my standards) because I have tons more to say on this issue and want to organize my thoughts better for later discussions. But in case you missed it, there is another immigration enforcement law controversy brewing in a US state. This time it's Georgia, not Arizona. However the law is very close to what Arizona tried to do. Basically the state intends to, via its police powers, make life rather unpleasant for illegal immigrants. If someone is suspected of committing a crime the police may verify immigration status. Georgia also intends to make it more difficult for illegal immigrants to get hired.
I can't speak authoritatively on the constitutional issues although some of my blog partners certainly could and likely will. I am more interested in the political and social implications. The new Census data shows that the Hispanic population in Georgia grew 96% in the last decade while nationwide a full 22% of all children were Hispanic . Hispanics now outnumber Blacks in most metro areas.
Overall the Hispanic population grew four times faster than the US population.
In short this country's demographics are changing rather dramatically and there is a growing number of people across the board who are more than a little peeved at this. They are also convinced that it's been done via illegitimate means (i.e. illegal immigration) Of course it's not just Hispanics who are illegal immigrants but it's safe to say that's the group most partisans on this issue have in mind.

(Reuters) - An Arizona-style immigration bill cleared the Georgia legislature late Thursday and needs only the governor's signature to become law. The legislation would give police authority to question suspects about their immigration status. It would also require many private employers to check the immigration status of newly hired workers on a federal database called E-Verify. After extended debate, both the state Senate and House of Representatives passed the legislation in the final hours of their 40-day session.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has not said whether he would sign it. Deal supported E-Verify as a member of the U.S. Congress, said Phil Kent, spokesman for the Virginia-based nonprofit Americans for Immigration Control.
Read more here
The interesting thing to me is that even though presumably the Georgia Legislators saw the mixed results and negative blowback that Arizona received from its mostly aborted law, they went ahead and passed the bill anyway. And if you are in the US and don't live in California or New York, check around, there's a chance your legislature might be preparing some law on illegal immigrants even as we speak. People are getting very heated around this topic. Also the more states that pass laws like this, the less vulnerable any individual state will be to boycotts.

My take is that I don't think people should be racially demonized as anyone can theoretically become an American. That's different from Europe, which is also something I will write on later this month. However I also don't think it's too much to ask that people wait in line and do it the right way. I also believe that the level and amount of immigration should be up to the US, not to the would be immigrants. The US takes in more than 1 million legal immigrants each year and I think that's more than enough.

What's your take? Why do you think anti-immigration laws and feelings are spreading? Do you think the US should have open borders? Will Georgia's law face the same fate as Arizona's? Will immigration reform become a hot issue for the 2012 election? Would you boycott any state that passed legislation like this? Is this the last gasp of a dying white electorate?
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