A Cautionary Tale

From the New York Times comes a story about Riverside, New Jersey, one of a small number of localities that passed tough anti-illegal immigrant laws but are now rethinking them. Snip:

With the departure of so many people, the local economy suffered. Hair salons, restaurants and corner shops that catered to the immigrants saw business plummet; several closed. Once-boarded-up storefronts downtown were boarded up again.

Meanwhile, the town was hit with two lawsuits challenging the law. Legal bills began to pile up, straining the town’s already tight budget. Suddenly, many people — including some who originally favored the law — started having second thoughts.

So last week, the town rescinded the ordinance, joining a small but growing list of municipalities nationwide that have begun rethinking such laws as their legal and economic consequences have become clearer.

Virginia counties that have jumped on the populist, anti-illegal bandwagon most likely won’t face the same fall-out. They have far stronger economies, for one, and most likely could fight any future challenges without inflicting harm on other parts of their budgets.

Nevertheless, the consequences, both in economics and perception, are real.

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One response to “A Cautionary Tale”

  1. “With the departure of so many people, the local economy suffered….”

    Did this law force them to leave or was it a combination of the law and other factors such as a slowing economy, most notably in the construction industry where a lot of illegal immigrants work?

    My locality recently passed an illegal immigrant resolution. From what I could gather the main rub was on the education front.

    ESL students are expected to pass the same grade level test as native speaking students. When they don’t the entire school system suffers and then receives criticism from the very folks that won’t do anything about illegal immigration…it’s the pot calling the kettle black.

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