Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the anti-immigrant official who drafted Arizona and Alabama’s harmful immigration laws, has claimed his extreme laws have had no damaging effects on state economies where they have been implemented. He is an advisor to presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential candidate with the most extreme immigration plan, and Kobach has said he favors an “attrition through enforcement” national immigration plan, also known as self-deportation.
Kobach repeated his support for a self-deportation policy at a CPAC panel about immigration because it would serve as a jobs plan. To back up the claim, he said the immigration measures in Alabama and Arizona have helped the state economies. With 13 million Americans looking for jobs, Kobach said during the panel that deporting undocumented immigrants would open opportunities for those job seekers:
If it becomes our national policy we will accomplish many things, the restoration of the rule of law, and we will also create jobs for Americans all across America. […] If you really want to create a job and you don’t want to use words like shovel-ready and do it through a gov program, here’s an idea for you: If you want to create a job for a U.S. citizen tomorrow, deport an illegal alien today.
Watch Kobach’s comments (the very last line):
Of course, if Kobach were actually paying attention to the effects of his pet laws, he’d realize this claim simply isn’t true. In Alabama, one report shows that the state could lose as many as 140,000 jobs because of the state’s immigration law. After Latinos fled new, harmful immigration policies in Alabama and Georgia, farmers watched their crops rot in the field because they did not have enough workers to harvest them. Businesses in Arizona eventually turned against SB 1070, the state’s extreme immigration policy, because of the negative impact it had on jobs and the recovering economy.
And economists have reached the consensus that immigrants are good for the economy and help create jobs. And in 2010, the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank released a study that conclusively found that “there is no evidence that these effects take place at the expense of jobs for workers born in the United States.” The study, which did not distinguish between legal and undocumented immigrants, found that immigrants in the workforce have a “significant positive effect in the long run.”
No matter how many times Kobach claims self-deportation will create jobs — or how long Romney embraces extremely anti-immigrant policies — reports have show that his claims are simply wrong.