Keeping Immigrants Out (of Jobs)

by Don Boudreaux on April 30, 2010

in Immigration

Here’s Steve Landsburg on Arizona’s new immigration statute:

Writing in the New York Times, law professor Kris Kobach promises to rebut all the major objections to Arizona’s new anti-immigration law and proceeds to ignore all the major objections. Professor Kobach’s idea of a major objection is “It’s unfair to demand that aliens carry their documents with them”, whereas my idea of a major objection is “It’s idiotic, hateful and destructive to put obstacles in the way of productive activity.”

The number of “unauthorized aliens” in Arizona at any given moment is estimated as just under a half million—about the same as the number of Jews in New Jersey. Over half the text of the Arizona law is devoted to penalizing employers who hire these people. Now suppose for a moment that the New Jersey legislature were to pass a bill penalizing anyone who hires a Jew. Would Professor Kobach defend this law, as he does Arizona’s, by pointing out that it doesn’t require anyone to carry a driver’s license?

The anti-immigration hysterics keep warning us that foreigners want to come over here and exploit our welfare system. The insincerity of that stance is exposed whenever, as in Arizona, its proponents set out to prevent those very same foreigners from coming here and working.

Even the normally excellent George Will misses the big picture here.

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