The US and especially Alabama is about to get a real-life lesson on “Cause and Effect”. That is if the courts stay out of Alabama’s H.B. 56, passed on June 9, 2011. Alabama can now boast of having the nation’s harshest anti-immigrant law. The law makes it a crime to be without status. The Court intervened in Arizona, removing the real teeth from SB 1070 and averting the real economic disaster. Alabama might not be as lucky, the dominos are already falling.
Alabama’s State Senator, Scott Beason continues to say HB56, is a “jobs bill” although this is contrary to all evidence. Based upon all available economic research and evidence, the Federal Reserve Bank declared “there is no evidence that immigrants crowd out U.S.-born workers in either the short or long run.” It further found that
Statistical analysis of state-level data shows that immigrants expand the economy’s productive capacity by stimulating investment and promoting specialization. (Emphasis added) This produces efficiency gains and boosts income per worker. At the same time, evidence is scant that immigrants diminish the employment opportunities of U.S.-born workers.
And concerning HB56, economists almost universally (Emphasis added) concur that: Anti-immigration laws like Alabama’s are jobs and economic growth killers. These laws play well politically, but are based on flawed economic logic. The reason for this is that, as Michigan economics professor Mark Perry says, “There is no fixed pie or fixed number of jobs, so there is no way for immigrants to take away jobs from Americans. Immigrants expand the economic pie.”
What will HB56 do to Alabama’s economic pie? A study by the Perryman Group, produced an “An Analysis of the Economic Impact of Undocumented Workers on Business Activity in the US with Estimated Effects by State and by Industry” as we have said above, The study concludes that if Alabama is sucessful and every undocumented immigrant self-deports, Alabama will lose over 18,000 jobs and 2.6 billion in economic activity, and these numbers are even understated:
Therefore, with HB56 standing alone (the “static scenario”) without any “contemporaneous adjustment” at the federal level, Alabama stands to lose over 51,000 jobs and 8 billion in economic activity. (BTW, this is the present situation.)
Because of these staggering numbers, the analysts conclude:
The most compelling conclusions from this assessment are (1) the undocumented workforce is vital to US business growth and prosperity (and, in some cases, sustainability) and, thus, (2) an enforcement-only and removal approach is simply not viable. . .
The Perryman Group’s analysis indicates that the undocumented workforce has a positive effect on the economy. It is becoming more and more apparent that Dr. Keivan Deravi, an economics professor at AUM and budget adviser to the Legislature, was right, HB56 “wasn’t supported by facts and wasn’t based on real economic theories and research.”
The Cause and Effect lesson will become very clear when, the second most asked question in Alabama, right behind “Where are your papers” is, “Where are our profits?”