Federal Court Blocks Parts of Alabama's Immigration Law

Last Friday, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta temporarily blocked certain provisions of a recent Alabama law aimed at limiting illegal immigration. Most notably, the court blocked the part of the law that required state officials to check the immigration status of children upon their enrollment in public schools, as well as a provision requiring that immigrants carry an alien registration card.

Some of the other controversial portions of the law were upheld by the court, however, including one requiring that police try to determine the immigration status of drivers during traffic stops.

Some of the law’s effects were already evident before Friday’s injunction, and more are becoming apparent this week.

The AP reported that an experiment to find unemployed local workers to fill farm labor jobs normally done by immigrants has failed miserably. (Sound familiar?) The AP notes the disappointment of the man behind the project, Jerry Spencer of Grow Alabama:

After two weeks, Spencer said Monday, the experiment is a failure. Jobless resident Americans lack the physical stamina and the mental toughness to see the job through, he said, and there’s not much of a chance a new state program to fill the jobs will fare better.

In Baldwin County, in southern Alabama, school officials have reported “a major dip in attendance of Hispanic students” in the past three weeks, before last week’s injunction blocked the law's provision related to school enrollment. The minister of a local Hispanic church said he’s contemplating whether to renew the church’s lease due to dwindling attendance.

In a new position paper, University of Alabama economist Sam Addy estimated that the immigration law could cost the state’s economy $40 million. His calculation assumes an exodus of 10,000 undocumented immigrants who were making $5,000 year, remitting 20 percent of their earnings back home across the border. 

Background on Alabama’s immigration law is here and here.

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  • ||

    Jerry Spencer of Grow Alabama

    alabama is a terrible choice of cash crop.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Most notably, the court blocked the part of the law that required [...] immigrants carry an alien registration card.

    Some of the other controversial portions of the law were upheld by the court, however, including one requiring that police try to determine the immigration status of drivers during traffic stops.

    So brownish people don't have to carry papers but have to prove they are legal at traffic stops. I guess Alabamans will be paying for Mexican-sniffing dogs.

  • ||

    Mexican-sniffing dogs

    Damn your cutting-off-a-mexican-jumping-bean-joke hyphen.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Thwarted again, gringo.

  • ||

    His calculation assumes an exodus of 10,000 undocumented immigrants who were making $5,000 year, remitting 20 percent of their earnings back home across the border.

    I was going to comment, sight unseen, "Let me guess: a Keynesian."

    But I clicked through. What's the first line?

    Economies are demand-driven...
  • o3||

    actual losses cannot be calculated yet, but they will be large including lost crops & delayed/cancelled/slowed construction projects.

  • T||

    Meh. They'll just have cops conducting DWI checkpoints outside schools in the morning, which enables them to check if any of the brown people in the car are Mexican.

  • ||

    What a farce, on all fronts.

    I see no reason why, under a federalist system, a state can't volunteer to check on compliance with federal laws. Aside from its policy implications (which are no business of a court, I don't see why, exactly, it should be illegal for a school to confirm immigration status of schoolchildren.

    The real problem, of course, is entirely at the federal level. The issue isn't that, allofasudden, there's a shortage of workers or whatever because a credible threat is made that existing laws will be enforced. The real problem is those laws themselves.

  • ||

    "States are not the sole intended beneficiaries of federalism. An individual has a direct interest in objecting to laws that upset the constitutional balance between the National Government and the States when the enforcement of those laws causes injury that is concrete, particular, and redressable.

    Fidelity to principles of federalism is not for the States alone to vindicate."

    Bond v. United States, 564 U.S._________, (2011)(Kennedy, J.)

  • ||

    If enforcement of a federal law causes injury that is concrete, etc., when done by a state LEO, why doesn't it cause the same injury when done by a federal LEO?

  • ||

    In my view, it does.

    Don't you think that Justice kennedy makes a good point? Too often, the proponents of federalism forget that its primary objective is to vindicate individual liberty, not 50 laboratories of democracy.

  • GW||

    So his assumption about the effects on the economy are that illegals are making $5k a year, and remitting a grand of it back to Mexico.

    And they wonder why "Americans" won't work those jobs? Supply and demand, how does it work?

    This goes back to the "immigrants are doing jobs Americans refuse to do" argument. In some cases, I think that's correct, like entry level jobs that snotty teenagers would refuse to do under any circumstances, that were common when I was a teenager (and we were glad to have the jobs).

    But in many other cases, immigrants will come here, live a 3rd world lifestyle, and accept a wage no American wanting to live even a poverty (by American standards) lifestyle could accept.

  • cynical||

    True enough. Thing is, if Cato libertarians got their way (more legal immigrants) it would be the same thing -- they aren't black market labor, so they still get the same protections as other workers in terms of conditions and pay.

    Either way, more legal immigration or less illegal immigration, prices on unskilled labor will go up, with all the attendant consequences.

  • Raston Bot||

    The comments to that AP story are 10:1 sad. Apparently lots of Alabama citizens are unfamiliar with labor cost and comparative advantage.

    Spencer provides a nice anecdote:

    Spencer said he hasn't been able to find unemployed people who would work quickly enough or long enough to make the decent money that Bentley talked about.

    A four-person crew of immigrant workers can pick and box more than 250 crates of tomatoes in a day, Spencer said, or enough for each person on the crew to earn about $150 at the height of the harvest.

    A 25-person team of citizens recently picked and processed about 200 boxes in a day, he said, earning each member only $24.

    An illegal fills ~62 crates in the time it takes a legal to fill 8 crates. Reduce the fraction and that's nearly 800% greater productivity.

    And what's up with paying illegals $2.40 a crate vs $3 for a legally harvested crate?

  • GW||

    This is because unemployed people are collecting a check from the gubment already.

    You mean to tell me that a worker can only average packing ONE crate of tomatoes an hour!?!?! Either that or just collect a check for doing nothing?

    I can't stand this correlation without causation bullshit.

  • ||

    It's hard, physically demanding work. The illegals are trained and conditioned for the work. If you want to do a comparison, wait until the legal workers have spent a full year on the job and then compare them again. Those that survive the first year will proably be approaching the speed that the mexicans work at.

    It's been 6 months since my local Chipotle was forced to fire most of their brown workers and replace them with white kids, and the line is almost moving as fast as it used to. Their speed the first month was awful.

  • ||

    University of Alabama economist Sam Addy estimated that the immigration law could cost the state’s economy $40 million.

    Well, he's wrong. The fact that the unemployed are too fucking lazy to work is costing the state money. Also, the fact that the state manipulated the labor market to the point that employers, farmers in this case, cannot profitably have their crops harvested, has cost the economy that money.

    Seriously, could the state not see this coming? You establish a market value for labor, then you pull the labor out of the market?

    I wonder if the sat e would have gone after the farmers had they paid the current prevailing wage and then passed that cost on to the consumers if their products. Do you think there would be an uproar if lettuce went to $4.00 a head? Or if strawberries cost $15.00 a quart?

  • ||

    I will offer the state governments an idea.

    Amy state that kicks out a large segment of the labor pool pays whet their prevailing wage for products are without averaging them in with states that do not limit the labor pool.

    I would be willing to bet that when they have food rotting in fields and/or are paying triple the price that other states with a free market on labor are paying, they will rethink this stupid shit.

    As far as the kids in school, if their parents pay rent and their landlord pays property tax on that property they are living in, then they have every right to be there.

  • ||

    What if the landlord is a tax protester?

  • ||

    Then the government will ultimately confiscate his property taxes. Either way, the tenant has met his obligations.

  • ||

    The law doesn’t say that the kids can’t go to school if they don’t supply the required information. The law says parents must supply the residency information for everyone registering for k-12 school. All the state is doing is collection information on who is attending the public schools. If a parent wants to pull their kids out of school and rob them of an education that is their choice.

  • ||

    Serious question: is Tate short for anything?

    I mean, if your real name is Potato Watkins or any variation of Potatohead Watkins, you ought to change your byline, because that would really, really kick ass. If it is neither, I humbly apologize.

  • Bradley||

    Tater "tit strangler" Watkins, Esq.

  • Brittanicus||

    Intense Focus must be drawn in our days ahead to the "Legal Workers Act” which for financial necessity head to the floor of Congress. This is about mandatory E-Verify, a trusted deterrent, to reduce and finally end illegal aliens in the workplace. This is a draconian measure used by thousands of truthful businesses, to replace and discharge the 8 million foreign nationals out of jobs, that all Americans and legal populace have a lawful right too.

    THE 24 MILLION JOBLESS US WORKERS NEED YOUR ASSISTANCE TO DEMAND FROM BOTH POLITICAL PARTIES TO VOTE FOR REPRESENTATIVE LAMAR SMITHS "LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT" designated as bill number ( H.R. 2885.) Passage of this law insures every business in the United States, must confirm every person in current and future jobs are here legally. Once E-Verify is enacted by Congress, companies large and small will be held accountable, with the very real prospect of harsh fines, business assets confiscation or a prison sentence.

    The liberal media, open border organizations, with emphasis on the special interest lobby have demonized the program, condemning E-Verify as incapable of defining who an illegal job seeker is using falsified ID, from an authorized worker. What the open borders entities have calculatedly forgot to disclose, that any rejected individual can resolve their denial at the Social Security Office. The new versions and upgrading of this free, simple software is now linking with each state Department of Motor Vehicles, beginning with the State of Mississippi.

    A significant change can come to our sovereign nation, if we deny schooling, healthcare and public benefits to persons who enter illegally. Through decades of enforcement abuse, will have now collectively 20 million or more trespassers in America, with more surging past our porous border each day. The E-verify plan will deny illegal migrants and immigrants a job, which will alternately end this unfettered problem of Sanctuary Cities, Dream Act evolution and the present President Obama’s and the Dept of Justice efforts to shove a clandestine Amnesty down the throats of the TEA PARTY and all—law abiding AMERICANS. This diffusion illegal population problem will stop over time and the $113 Billion Dollars, taxpayers spend to subsidize these people will wind down.

    This is not a vendetta against the Hispanic people, or any race in this country. Millions of different racial make-ups came to America honestly and are just as plagued, by illegal aliens taking their jobs or social benefits that they have earned.

    Thousands of Jobs that have already opened to Americans, as illegal aliens have scrambled to dodge detainment through ICE sweeps. Unknown numbers of foreigners are fleeing Alabama, Georgia and Arizona and other states enacting policing laws, because of federal failure to enforce laws since the inception of the 1986 Immigration Control & Reform Act. If it wasn’t for Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and many other personages, who have illuminated the costs, crime and numbers of illegal aliens squatting here. Many are going home to their country of residence, with their departures making even more room for our unemployed population. If you want to fax for free, go to NumbersUSA or otherwise please call Washington at 202-224-3121 and ask for your U.S. Senator or Representative's office to urge action on mandatory E-Verify.

    All Americans and legal immigrants are invited to join the TEA PARTY, in any of the thousands of groups throughout this country. The Tea Party will enact stringent laws as a balanced federal budget amendment, a smaller open federal government, less intrusive regulations, a fair tax code, with no special privileges, fair foreign trade and a government for and of “THE PEOPLE.” For all people no matter their race, religion or political affiliation.

    2011 will indisputably the most important election and we must be attentive. To keep Obama in power, the Liberals and Democrats will remain undisturbed if illegal aliens vote. ACORN and other canvassing groups who register voters is not dead, so the potential is there for massive voter fraud.

    One Old Vet saying, “Stand next to me and you’ll never stand alone.”

  • cynical||

    K. Here's another old saying: you have the right to any job you create. Someone else creates it, it belongs to them, to give away as they please.

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