Alabama legislators still aren’t feeling the love from passing anti-immigrant bill HB56

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LatinaLista — On a day when most people are feeling warm and fuzzy towards one another, it’s worth noting that in those states that passed legislation targeting undocumented immigrants and labeling them as “burdens” on their state coffers, the feeling among most of these legislators should be turning from smug satisfaction to outright regret and dread.

The Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice held a rally at the Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery today, Feb. 14, 2012. The protest was aimed at the Alabama immigration law known as HB56. Protesters took Valentines into the Statehouse to deliver to their representatives urging them to repeal the law. (Natalie Wade, al.com)

Reports have come in that legislators from Oklahoma and Arizona have had second thoughts about their actions and now it’s Alabama’s turn.

Dr. Samuel Addy, an economist and director of the Center for Business & Economic Research at the University of Alabama, has done the first “economic cost-benefit analysis” of the state’s harsh immigration law — and the findings are enough to break every conservative’s heart.

According to Dr. Addy, the immigration bill, known as HB56, will annually shrink Alabama’s economy by at least $2.3 billion and will cost the state not less than 70,000 jobs.

As a result, Addy estimates, the state’s gross domestic product will decline by $2.3 billion to $10.8 billion for every year the law is in effect and will cost $56.7 million to $264.5 million in tax revenue.

Not good news but what’s even worse is that all those jobs left behind by undocumented immigrants — in construction, agriculture, food service and hospitality — now employ far fewer people than they did before and Alabamians aren’t just not applying for those jobs but totally ignoring the pleas of Alabama employers to fill those empty slots.

What’s even sadder, in a state with an average 8 percent rate of unemployment, there are just some jobs that Americans won’t do — even if it means less food on the table, barely making the rent/mortgage and having a lower quality of life.

I think it’s safe to say that these days Alabama legislators aren’t feeling the kind of love they expected to feel when they passed HB56.