Economy

Before passing draconian immigration bill, one state conducts self-audit to see if illegal immigration hype matches the facts

Before passing draconian immigration bill, one state conducts self-audit to see if illegal immigration hype matches the facts

LatinaLista — An article in The Dallas Morning News over the weekend reported that, according to the Mexican Consulate in Dallas, 400 immigrant families have or are in the process of returning to Mexico. The consulate knows this because these families have asked for transfer documents for their children to attend school in Mexico.
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Nayelli (center) and Keila (right) wait outside of a closet while their sister and mother pack belongings of the family, who after 10 years are returning to Mexico due to economic adversity and the anti immigrant climate of the nation.
(Source: Roberto M. Sanchez/Al Dia)

The trend isn't isolated to only Dallas. Phoenix and Chicago are also registering increases in Mexican transfer requests too. There were anecdotal reports that the same was happening (people leaving) in Oklahoma when that state's immigration laws were enacted, and it will probably end up happening in Missouri too.
Today, the Governor of Missouri signed into law the latest state-enacted bill that targets undocumented immigrants. Though Missouri only has 1 percent of the estimated 12 million undocumented, it seemed to be strangely large enough for the Governor to declare:

Gov. Matt Blunt said the state could not wait for the federal government to respond to what has become a serious national problem.

However, the true problem may not be so much the citizenship status of these people but the lost revenue funneled through local economies because of their purchasing power.


Though undocumented immigrants are on the low end of the totem pole when it comes to economic standing, their clout in the marketplace is hard to ignore.
There's probably no better example of this than at back-to-school sales. It will be interesting to see how retail stores will record sales at that time. As of now, Latinos, comprised of both undocumented and citizens, are spending money at a rate of $928 billion annually. By 2010, it's expected to reach $1.2 trillion.
The economic impact of undocumented immigrants on a community/state has become a cliche-cited reason for passing such draconian laws to drive them out of these same places. The usual practice is to pass the laws first, then decide how much they actually cost the communities.
Well, one state is finally putting the horse before the cart. In order to bolster their arguments to pass immigration laws, since it failed to previously pass, legislators in Kansas have inserted into the state budget bill the Legislative Division of Post Audit.
It is an audit that will attempt to calculate how much illegal immigration costs the state. The report is expected to be completed sometime next year.

The audit will try to determine the costs to the state of Kansas for benefits and services provided to illegal immigrants, the estimated tax revenues from illegal immigrants, and whether the taxes they pay offset the costs of benefits provided.
And finally, the audit will study the effect that illegal immigration has on labor costs and the job market in Kansas.

Though one could say that the Kansas legislators are doing the audit under duress, or praying that it bolsters their argument, the fact remains that with such an emotionally-charged issue, it is imperative that the facts be uncovered and examined.
As one Kansas legislator said, "“Before we decide on fiscal policies that affect our economy, shouldn’t we have some idea on what we are doing and what the outcomes might be if we make those changes?”
It's the only way to reach a real solution that is long-lasting and fair.

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