Immigration

Escape from L.A.

|

Are illegal aliens leaving Los Angeles? "This month the Urban Institute, a think-tank, estimated that the county lost some 15,000 illicit residents between 2002 and 2004," The Economist reports. "In the same period America as a whole added more than 1m." The magazine cites several reasons for the shift, of which the most notable are the most normal:

Maria, who moved out before she became a permanent resident and is now studying for a citizenship test in a San Bernardino shopping mall, provides three. Housing is much cheaper there than in Los Angeles, she says. The schools are better. And local gangs, although they are growing, are not nearly as entrenched as they are in the big city.

In short, illegal immigrants are leaving Los Angeles for the same reasons most people do.

"The difference," declares The Economist, "is that their new neighbours are unlikely to welcome them with open arms." Well, that and the fact that these newcomers are less likely to blame the border-crossers for the gangs and the state of the schools.

[Via Mariel Garza.]

NEXT: More About Capitol Hill Toilet Protocol

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Has everyone seen Bill O’Reilly and Geraldo screaming at each other about immigration?

    First Geraldo starts getting the best of him, then Bill trots out the old “What part of illegal don’t you understand?”

    Then Geraldo really smacks him around. He out-Bills Bill.

  2. meh. it’s the economist.

  3. What’s wrong with the Economist?

    I don’t find this at all surprising. Aren’t immigrants doing this exact thing when they, you know, immigrate? As long is there is a “critical mass” of people their culture they would seem as likely to move as anybody else.

  4. Um, San Bernardino is not really “away” from LA.

    Iowa? Not LA.
    San Bernardino? Riverside? Still basically LA.

  5. joe,

    I saw it…

    my first thought was : How big of an asshat do you have to be to make Geraldo Rivera look like the smart/sane one in the discussion

  6. “… these newcomers are less likely to blame the border-crossers for the gangs and the state of the schools.”

    That could use some fleshing-out, even if someone is inclined to agree. First, is there no correlation between the L.A. gangs and illegal immigration, or the bad schools? Second, are non-L.A. U.S. communities really not inclined to correlate the growth of gangs and the worsening of schools in their area, if those changes correlate with an influx of illegal immigrants?

    I don’t know the answers to those things, but the answers are relevant.

  7. ChicogoTom,

    Did you notice O’Really’s eyes pop when O’Really yelled, “It’s a SIN!”

    I was waiting for him to get frustrated and yell, “What do I have to do, Bill, draw you a picture?”

  8. Er, when Geraldo yelled…

  9. Many(legal) Somali immigrants left Atlanta for Lewiston Maine.When asked why they were leaving they gave the age-old answer…… “to get away from the Ni….. African-Americans.

  10. highnumber,

    Will spoke at an ABA luncheon I attended. He was a really good public speaker, and he had some quite libertarian moments despite the very non-libertarian crowd (I asked him a softball libertarian question, just to see what he’d do with it). Not that I don’t have a number of issues with some of his positions, but he’s not completely screwed up.

    And I have no idea what the problem is with The Economist. Maybe people don’t like it because they don’t know who is writing the articles? I’m not a regular reader, but it seems fairly good to me.

  11. “El Serpiente Plissken? Pens? que ?l era muerto!”

    PS: I know “serpiente” is supposed to have a female article “la” but what is the rule when it’s a nickname given to a male?

  12. Call it the Yogi Berra factor: L.A. is so crowded, nobody lives there anymore…

  13. Ya know, it’s kinda like that scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding where Michael Constantine tells his future son-in-law, “You have to ask my permission to marry my daughter.”

    “Can I marry your daughter?”

    “No…”

    That’s exactly what it’s like arguing with the Secure-the-Borders gang…

    PS: Hey Bill O’Reilly…don’t you ever get tired of pandering to idiots?

  14. BOR v. Geraldo here.

    Leave it to BO Reilly to make Geraldo look like a reasonable man.

  15. Yeah. And then there’s the business of arresting and imprisoning business owners who “hire illegal immigrants”.

    This would be criminal to begin with. But when even the Feds have admitted they can’t tell who’s got legit paperwork and who doesn’t among the immigrants, then arresting business owners becomes something worse than merely criminal.

    There, I finally got that off my chest. It really chaps my ass a good one hearing about this bullshit.

  16. But when even the Feds have admitted they can’t tell who’s got legit paperwork…

    Why should they?

    This country has a long tradition of people not needing “papers”.

    If you’re going to make the greasers show papers you’ve got to make the citizens do it too, because there’s an awful lot of Canucks* and Brits** here illegally too (and least in Florida anyway). And frankly I’m sick of having to show my papers.

    *And they even talk like us (well, a little bit anyway).

    **And a lot of them might too. I remember meeting a guy in Canada years ago who I could have sworn had lived in Canada or the US his whole life. It turned out that he had had gotten off a plane from Old Blighty the week before. He had been born and raised in Bristol, England.

  17. Has everyone seen Bill O’Reilly and Geraldo screaming at each other about immigration?

    Oh, for a couple antisocial types with folding chairs…

  18. There really isn’t that much in her on which to hang my hat, except I’ll point out that there’s such a thing as the TemporaryProtectedStatus program, which brought hundreds of thousands of CentralAmericans to the U.S. on an InfinitelyRenewed AmnestyScheme, with hundreds of thousands in L.A. alone. A small but very dangerous portion of them are with an infamous ParamilitaryGang. That same group is currently spreading to many other states, following “clients” and victims to even places like Iowa.

    I’m not going to accuse libertarians of playing a large role since almost no one listens to them anyway, but their policies would help that along.

    I note also that Reason Magazine’s policies would allow every member of the Islamic Defenders Front (extremists mentioned in a recent post) to immigrate here just as long as they made money for someone, and even without that condition.

    P.S. I’ve got a fun project! Reason hacks should start a new MTV series where they all rent an apartment InKoreatown or even better PicoUnion or SouthLosAngeles. Let’s call it, “Meet Your Policies In Action”.

    P.P.S. Click the link to visit my extensive reporting on who was involved in the ImmigrationMarches. You might be surprised.

  19. Well, given that NYC is bursting at the seams with immigrants, and assuming that the percentage of illegals has remained roughly constant (in other words, assuming that the number of illegals continues to rise), is it possible that there are other factors at play to explain why LA is losing illegals? Here in NYC, of course many are moving out – as they have throughout history – but they’re being replaced by greater numbers. Why not in LA?

  20. Who makes more sense: the comment-spammming Chinese Mysterons, or Lonewacko?

    Kevin

  21. Well, that and the fact that these newcomers are less likely to blame the border-crossers for the gangs and the state of the schools.

    Oh deary me. Of course those poor, pitiful, helpless ‘n’ passive “brown people” can’t be blamed for the violent gangs they commonly form, nor can they be blamed for their own generally very lousy performance in school.

    It’s always someone else’s fault – White Racism is the root of all evil, ain’t it, Bubbah? The supernatual powers of the Naughty White Men are proven beyond doubt by the existence of *lotsa* violent gangs, and poor education and high crime rates, in Central and South America too, despite the fact that the Naughty White Men are a small minority there. Is it something the NWM put in the water? Fluoridation, maybe, or perhaps some newfangled Magic Pixie Dust?

  22. Wheeeeee!!!!
    Wheeeee!!!!!!!!
    Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!
    Racist!

  23. I’m not going to accuse libertarians of playing a large role since almost no one listens to them anyway, but their policies would help that along.

    There’s at least a couple of us around here who recognize the fact that immigration is not just a pure net positive good. But the official lines are drawn as “open the borders with no restrictions” and “keep the SOBs out except for a tiny little trickle”.

    Reality is somewhere else, and it still surprises me that Reason doesn’t seem to get that fact. But hey, nobody is perfect.

    Read your link. No surprises. The Mexican government has been actively working like that forever. What needs to be faced, is the simple fact that the cost of preventing large scale Mexican immigration would be prohibitive.

    That, ore we need to dig an ocean between the US and Mexico. Would that really be any more expensive than building, maintaining, and gaurding a wall that actually did the job?

  24. But the official lines are drawn as “open the borders with no restrictions” and “keep the SOBs out except for a tiny little trickle”.

    I say, Genghis, old man, is it possible that you and I might be in substantial agreement.

    That, ore [sic] we need to dig an ocean between the US and Mexico. Would that really be any more expensive than building, maintaining, and gaurding a wall that actually did the job?

    I have long maintained that digging a 100 mile wide canal along the border would be an excellent solution.

    Keep in mind the benefits; sea-level transit between the Pacific and the Atlantic thus reducing transportation costs by a huge margin.

    The costs: we would wipe out a number of border towns (sorry San Diego and El Paso) and have huge problem of land acquisition to negotiate with Mexico. Unless, of course, such an enterprise was considered so important we had to do it entirely on our side. Wow, talk about a huge ED problem.

    And then, of course, there might be problems as Pacific species crossed into the Atlantic and vice-versa. But, hey, what’s a little environmental damage where we’re dealing with a question like this?

    But it might work.

    Otherwise we might need to recognize that not every immigrant wants to stay here and become a citizen.

    I think any treatment of this problem has to recognize that most immigrant workers from Mexico do not, in fact, want to become citizens. They want to make to make a few years of “big money” and go home.

    I know that most Americans cannot imagine that everyone in the world does not want to be an American. But interestingly enough a lot of folks would just as soon go “home” just as soon as they had a few bucks to do it.

  25. I say, Genghis, old man, is it possible that you and I might be in substantial agreement.

    Wow. It seems like this doesn’t happen very often, seems like I’m usually on some kind of alien wavelength.

    I know that most Americans cannot imagine that everyone in the world does not want to be an American.

    I understand that quite well. I’m married to a Vietnamese, who’s whole family is here (political refugees). They have a tough time with the fact that their children are growing up American and don’t know “where they came from”. They all talk about someday going back to Vietnam to retire. Then they think about living conditions there vs. here, and the idea of going back seems to quietly fade away.

    I did construction work for several years before going to college. I now live in AZ and built three new houses here. Got to know the crews who built all of them (I just have to have my nose in it), 95% were Mexicans. I’ve talked with the ones who can speak English, the stories they tell about life in Mexico are horrible.

    As an engineer in grad school I was a definite minority as an American. Got to know lots of people from India, China, and other places. I dare say that I’ve seen immigrants, their motivations, the policy injustices (which cut both ways), the benefits and the problems they cause, a lot more than the average American.

  26. The only real immigration problem we face is through Mexico, because the oceans provide a natural barrier otherwise. Mexico demands a different approach.

    If I ran the world (ha ha), I wouldn’t build a wall or dig a new Panama canal. I’d make it generally easy to get across the US/Mexican border, as long as you don’t have a criminal record or horrible disease coming into the US. Combine this with genuinely draconian penalties for people who do sneak around the ports of entry. Put the coyotes out of business by ensuring that it makes no sense for common people to sneak around the offical entry ports.

    Let this become established practice, while technology keeps moving forward. I have a feeling that in not too many years, we’ll have a combined sensor and IT capability that will be about as effective as any wall at seeing people who sneak around the entry ports, but at a fraction of the cost.

    Then, if and as the need arises to filter out more of the incoming, we’ve got a system in place that lets us do it far more effectively. Though if we got really smart and ended both the WoD and the welfare state,we might never need to do much restricting. Who knows.

    Basically all of the high profile gun fights that happen along the I-10/I-19 corridor in Arizona involve Mexicans. They also always involve either drugs or coyotes. Get rid of these black markets and you’d get rid of some real problems.

    Still, beyond this the Mexicans create some badly crime ridden areas. You can argue that Americans commit the same kinds of crime, and that may be true. But it doesn’t change the fact that without the Mexicans we wouldn’t have these crimes to contend with.

    Mexicans should be subject to the same laws that US citizens are,which is definitely not the case today. Mexicans can, for example, run you off the road, flee the scene, and the police don’t even bother looking for them. Even if you’re hit by an obviously knee walking drunk Mexican, the police will shrug and tell you “too bad” the minute you say the car had Mexican tags. At this point Mexicans have a free pass to do whatever they feel like on the road.

    The US can only assimilate so many immigrants at any given time. I don’t know how many is too many, probably nobody knows right now. But if we really did open the border with Mexico it should be watched. Though I don’t know by whom — I don’t expect either the “open the borders forever” or “don’t let them in” crowds would be capable of objectivity. Right now there are no other voices on the stage.

    I’d be really interested in seeing some genuinely object analysis of the Mexican immigration issue, but it seems neigh-impossible to find. Our local newspapers here in Tucson have done a better job of it than anything else I’ve seen anywhere.

  27. The costs: we would wipe out a number of border towns (sorry San Diego and El Paso)

    I for one would miss San Diego.

    And then, of course, there might be problems as Pacific species crossed into the Atlantic and vice-versa. But, hey, what’s a little environmental damage where we’re dealing with a question like this?

    C’mon Isaac, use your imagination. We would deliberately breed Mexican eating sharks to live in this 100 mile wide canal. Or maybe sea ‘gators. Or some other horrible creatures that only a persona like Stephen King could dream up.

    Environmental damage? Think of all the new bio-diversity it would create. Not to mention all the new beach front property! It’s great as long as you stay away from those sharks.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.