Although the issue of illegal immigration has always been a hot button topic in America, frankly, it had slipped from the consciousness of the political landscape over the past few years, as the financial crises and two wars in the Middle East have rightly risen to the top in terms of the countrys priorities.
But after the Southwest border state of Arizona, contending with its own issues, opted to pass a bill that allows their local police to take over what had been the province of the federal government in detaining illegal immigrants, Republicans throughout the country have raced to the airwaves and to their computers to write up new tough laws in their own states, such as here in Florida.
But its not like the problem has gotten worse in recent years. As CL reported over three months ago, Floridas problems with undocumented immigrants has slowed down in recent years (according to Dept. of Homeland Security statistics), and a new Pew Hispanic report rleased yesterday confirms the same thing has been happening nationally, with the percentage of undocumented people in this country down nearly 67% since 2000.
But dont tell this to any of our GOP Legislators in Tallahassee, who cant wait to introduce their new bill the bill that the late (politically that is) Bill M cCollum declared a few weeks ago would be the virtual envy of Arizona.
Actually, now that hes theoretically appealing to the center and not his hard right, were curious to see if Rick Scott starts banging uot some ads accusing Alex Sink of catering to the "Obama like" stance on illegal immigration (see our post on Scotts obsession to make sure to include the Presidents name in any press release he issues regarding Sink).
Back to the new statistics, the Wall Street Journal reports that the decrease in the flow of illegal immigrants reported by Pew is supported by new studies from Wayne Cornelius, co-director of the migration research center at the University of California, San Diego.
Mr. Cornelius and others experts say the business cycle, not tighter border security, has played the biggest role in the drop in illegal entrants.
"The intensity of U.S. border enforcement has continued to increase during the recession, but only gradually," said Mr. Cornelius. "What has changed drastically is the demand for Mexican labor in the U.S. economy."
Mr. Cornelius's research team found no evidence that border fortifications were keeping illegal migrants out of the U.S.: More than nine out of 10 succeed at sneaking into the country eventually, he said.
Cornelius' conclusions seem to indicate that smart immigration policy would be to put the screws to employers, which the bill being sponsored by Florida House Republican William Snyder does allude to, somewhat, as his legislation would require Florida businesses to use the E-Verify system to ensure new hires are legally authorized to work.
But it again shows something that both supporters and critics of new laws on illegal immigration admit to - that to truly attack the issue, it must be done by the federal government. Critics say they don't want to hear the dirty word "comprehensive" when it come to dealing with the issue, and does there appear to be any indication that Congress could even try doing that anytime soon. The fact that are roughly 11 million people not documented in this country is not a good thing, and in fact has created what John McCain said back in 2008 was "de facto amnesty."