Trump’s immigration policies are inspiring red states around the nation to pass “anti-sanctuary city” laws. The rhetoric, while a great motivation for the white conservative base, is having a negative effect of certain key trades.
Gregg Abbott — Governor of Texas and small government strong man that enjoys big government overreach when it suits him — signed a bill into law last month that, among other things, allows for officers to racially profile citizens legally. Abbott also took other measures to twist the arms of local sheriffs that do not wish to make a habit of racially profiling citizens they are sworn to protect.
According to Slate:
In January, Abbott cut $1.5 million in criminal justice grants from [Travis] county—which includes Austin—to urge its sheriff, Sally Hernandez, to fall in line. (Those grants were not related to immigration, but instead funded programs in drug-diversion, family-violence therapy, and juvenile justice.) Judge Sarah Eckhardt, the chief executive of Travis County, insisted the sheriff was following the law, under which detainer requests are not mandatory.
That makes perfect sense for the “law and order” Republican. Just make it more difficult for law enforcement to help families suffering from violence or to police hard drugs or help kids stay off the streets. That’s the ticket! *insert sarcasm here*
Way to show your support for the men and women of law enforcement there, Gregg.
But it would appear that the extreme measures Abbott is taking to use the power of big government in order to dictate how people live — essentially violating their freedom of choice — is having an impact on the Texas jobs market. And not a good one.
“I’ve heard from growers, construction, and the service industry about a destabilization of the workforce in Texas and around the country,” Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, a Washington-based immigrants’ rights advocacy group, told the Associated Press. “It’s definitely happening more in states that are considering major immigration enforcement policies.”
According to the report from the Associated Press:
“The issue is particularly pronounced in Texas because it’s a conservative state and has one of the largest populations of immigrants who are living in the U.S. illegally. Texas’ new law has exacerbated more general fears among immigrants about immigration policies becoming stricter nationwide under President Donald Trump.”
Under the new law, sheriffs that refuse to comply could have their departments fined or even face criminal charges and be forced from office. Texas just became a little more fascist.
Oscar Martinez, a Texas resident, and small business owner, said he lost about a third of his entire workforce. “I took a big hit since my workers started hearing crazy stories about being deported, and they panicked,” Martinez told the Associated Press.
With a shortage of laborers, companies like Oscar Martinez’s will suffer. Losing a third of your workforce also means being able to do a third less work, make a third less profit, and pay a third fewer people which also translates into lost tax revenue. Undocumented immigrants are ineligible for tax returns. This can translate into potentially big trouble for the local Texas economy but not only for the southern Republican state.
With fewer workers to help bring in crops, the cost of food will rise. If drywall companies like that of Oscar Martinez cannot find enough labor, the cost of construction could go up which will lead to more expensive housing.
These policies and laws aren’t just bad for the economy either. If undocumented workers cannot contact law enforcement for fear of being deported, that means there are potentially millions of people that may witness a crime, such as a murder, and be unwilling to report it. Los Angeles is already seeing a significant drop in crimes like sexual assaults being reported out of Hispanic communities.
These laws are not just racist because they allow officers to ask anyone that is brown for their papers (World War 2-era Germany anyone?), they are sexist as they prevent Latina women from reporting when they are victims of violent sexual acts.
The U.S needs to rethink its immigration policies. Preferably not with Republicans at the helm of our nation. Resist. Vote. Peace.
Featured image via Flickr