(TUSCALOOSA, Ala.) — Are tough immigration enforcement laws designed to provide jobs for American citizens and save money actually bleeding money from states? It appears so in Alabama.
Since enacting a law last June that allows police to detain people suspected of being in the U.S. illegally, the state’s economy has lost an estimated $10.8 billion.
That’s according to a study by University of Alabama economist Samuel Addy, who says that about 80,000 jobs were vacated since illegal immigrants left the state rather than face arrest.
In addition, more than $350 million in income taxes as well as city, county and state sales taxes have been lost due to fewer people spending money in Alabama.
Advocates of the law maintain that the absence of illegal immigrants would provide unemployed legal residents with work, but that apparently hasn’t happened because many people don’t want to toil at the same low-paying jobs for long hours.
The argument that Alabama would save money on health and education services spent on undocumented aliens has also been struck down by Addy, who contends that the cost of litigation and enforcing the law is surpassing those savings.
There is a move afoot by state Democrats to repeal the law but the GOP-controlled legislature has only promised to look at possibly revising some aspects of it.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Lisa France, CNN
Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
Polo Sandoval, Melissa Gray and Holly Yan, CNN