State Rep. John Kavanagh (R – LD8) launched his anti-immigration website to support the employer sanctions law: ProtectAZBorder.com. One of the first things you will read on his site is the following:
"Arizona businesses are firing Hispanic immigrants, moving operations to Mexico and freezing expansion plans ahead of a new law that cracks down on employers who hire undocumented workers."
I guess in some universe this is good news.
The anti-immigration crowd have fashioned a stake which they have plunged through the heart of Arizona’s business climate, and they call it employer sanctions.
12% of Arizona’s workforce is undocumented labor. These anti-immigration radicals want to put the businesses that rely on that labor pool out of business. They have a naive and ideological belief that this law will cause undocumented workers to give up and return home because they can’t find a job in Arizona. Most will merely go deeper underground, ensuring that they are exploited and abused by employers at greater rates. At best, some may move to other states. None will return to Mexico or other nations of origin as a result of this law. Not one.
The belief that this bill can address the immigration issue is as faith-based as the idea that the Iraqis would greet us as liberators. The mindset that complex and systemic problems can be fixed by simple and brute-force solutions is endemic to the radical authoritarian mind-set. Unfortunately, their fantasies of omnipotence don’t map to reality with any success. This bill does nothing for America, and nothing for Arizona except ensure a recession; the only benefit is to the electoral hopes of the radical authoritarians.
The formation of new businesses in Arizona has ground to a virtual stand-still over the legal uncertainty that the employer sanctions law has created. The radical authoritarian immigration-haters point to this fact proudly. Why would you expand into or move a business to Arizona when you might face the loss of your license to operate, or even your corporate charter, should you be found negligent in hiring an illegal alien?
The sponsors of this bill are the enemies of our economy. Their obsession with taking the reins of a contentious political issue for purely political gain has made them ignore the very real costs and dangers this bill poses to all our financial futures. In the midst of a billion dollar budget shortfall, one might hope that the legislative leaders of our state would be interested in more than scoring political points with the most radical elements of their political constituencies. Such hope would be in vain.
One primary sponsor of this terrible bill was Senate President Tim Bee. Tim has already proven he has no respect for Arizona’s laws with his not-so-stealth campaign masquerading as an "exploratory committee," so his lack of concern for Arizona’s economy should come as no surprise. But consider that this darling of the business right, for whom the royal road to nomination has been cleared by financial threats against any potential challengers by men such as Don Diamond and Jim Click, is one of the very economic assassins who is trying to kill Arizona’s economy as a sop to the racist and nativist groundlings of his party. Ironic, no?
Those who voted for this mess, and there are many Democrats who did so out of fear, ignorance, or whatever motivation, should apologize to their constituents. Employer sanctions by a single state is a suicidal move. It’s like swatting a fly on your nose with a round fired from a .357 magnum. There might be some benefit from a well-coordinated national employer sanction law if combined with well-policed labor standards and a new legal status for currently undocumented workers already in this county, but there is no advantage to the unilateral economic seppuku that is Arizona’s employer sanctions bill.