(Zandar here, helping out Steve. Enjoy.)
The usual suspects over in the wingerverse are having a good laugh at this piece showing that illegal immigrants in Arizona are planning to leave the state.
"Nobody wants to pick us up," Julio Loyola Diaz says in Spanish as he and dozens of other men wait under the shade of palo verde trees and lean against a low brick wall outside the east Phoenix home improvement store.
Many day laborers like Diaz say they will leave Arizona because of the law, which also makes it a state crime to be in the U.S. illegally and directs police to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are illegal immigrants.
Supporters of the law hope it creates jobs for thousands of Americans.
"We want to drive day labor away," says Republican Rep. John Kavanagh, one of the law's sponsors.
Our shortsighted friends on the right figure "Mission accomplished, don't let the door hit you on the way out!" It's not that simple, but then again it never was.
A study of immigrants in Arizona published in 2008 found that non-citizens, mostly in the country illegally, held an estimated 280,000 full-time jobs. The study by researcher Judith Gans at the University of Arizona examined 2004 data, finding that they contributed about 8 percent of the state's economic output, or $29 billion.
Losing hundreds of thousands of unskilled laborers wouldn't hurt the state's economy in the short term, but it could limit the economy's ability to grow once it recovers, says Marshall Vest, director of the Economic and Business Research Center at the University of Arizona's Eller College of Management.
Legal workers who are willing to take any available job now will become more choosy if the unemployment rate falls back to low levels seen before the recession hit.
"That's really the question, as to whether the existing population is willing to work those (low-level) jobs," Vest says. "I think economics provides the answer. If job openings have no applicants, then businesses need to address that by raising the offered wage."
And there's the crux of the argument. When you have day laborers off the books you can pay in cash, and they have every incentive to keep their mouths shut, a readily available underclass that will do jobs for a fraction of the cost of hiring "REAL AMERICANS!!!" for the same work, you have a problem. As an employer, you get to pocket the difference. When 8 percent of the state's economy is powered by illegal immigrants, it's not the immigrants who are the problem, it's the economy that makes employing them under the table so desirable that is the issue.
If you think all 280,000 full time jobs in Arizona held by illegals are going to be replaced with American workers getting a fair wage overnight, you're nuts.
Second issue: these folks aren't going back to Mexico. They're going to other states.
Standing near potted trees and bushes for sale at a Home Depot in east Phoenix, Diaz, 35, says he may follow three families in his neighborhood who moved to New Mexico because of the law. He says a friend is finding plenty of work in Dallas.
Diaz says he has too much to lose by staying - he's supporting a wife and infant son back home in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, across the border from El Paso, Texas.
"They depend on me to survive," he says. "I'm not going to wait for police to come and arrest me."
Jose Armenta, a 33-year-old illegal immigrant from Mexico's western coast, is already planning to move to Utah within the next 20 days because of a combination of the economy and the new law.
"A lot of people drive by," he says as he watched nearby cars speeding past, "and they yell, 'Hey, go back to Mexico!'"
They're not. If anything, this proves why we need a comprehensive national immigration reform policy ASAP. All Arizona's law is doing is shifting immigrants to other states. Good idea short term, does nothing to alleviate the problem long-term. It still doesn't solve the wage issue that made these jobs pay so low that only immigrants would take them. It still doesn't solve the problem of migrants simply going to other states, either. It's still a national problem and it needs a national solution.
If the wingers and the Republicans in Congress were serious, they'd stop laughing and cheering and realize we've got a much bigger problem overall. But of course, they're never serious about solutions. Solutions take hard work. Much easier to stand there and shout NO NO NO at everything.