by John Hawkins | February 4, 2008 5:19 am
Think enforcement by attrition won’t work? Well, tell it to ’em in Texas and they may have time to pay attention if the flood of people pouring into that state ever slows down,
Illegal immigrants are flowing into Texas across its long borders. But they aren’t just swimming across the Rio Grande from Mexico or making dangerous treks through the rugged desert.
Instead, a new rush of illegal immigrants are driving down Interstate 35 from Oklahoma or heading east to Texas from Arizona to flee tough new anti-illegal immigrant laws in those and other states.
Though few numbers are available because illegal residents are difficult to track, community activists say immigrants have arrived in Houston and Dallas in recent months, and they expect hundreds more families to relocate to the Bayou City soon.
”They’re really tightening the screws,” said Mario Ortiz, an undocumented Mexican worker who came to Houston after leaving Phoenix last year. ”There have been a lot coming — it could be 100 a day.”
The growing exodus is the result of dozens of new state and local laws aimed at curbing illegal immigration. The two toughest measures are in Oklahoma and Arizona.
The Oklahoma statute, which took effect in November, makes it a crime to transport, harbor or hire illegal immigrants. Effective Jan. 1, the Arizona law suspends the business license of employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers. On a second offense, the license is revoked.
”It’s a wave that’s happening across the United States,” said Nelson Reyes, executive director of the Central American Resource Center in Houston, which has helped immigrants who recently relocated in Houston from Virginia and South Carolina. ”There is a migration, within the United States, to the states and cities more receptive to the reality of the undocumented immigrant.”
So far, results of the new laws have been dramatic.
In Oklahoma, one builder estimated that 30 percent of the Hispanic work force left Tulsa. Reports out of Arizona indicate that several restaurants have closed in Phoenix because of a shortage of workers, and vacancies at apartment complexes are increasing, in part because of departing immigrants.
Experts predict immigrants will flock to Houston and other cities in Texas because of the state’s reputation as a welcoming destination.
The construction industry in Texas has largely weathered a national housing slump, they note, adding there is a long tradition of relying on skilled labor from Latin America.
And so far, Texas has not passed any statewide law targeting the employment of undocumented workers.
The Department of Homeland Security estimates that 1.6 million illegal immigrants were in Texas in 2006.
…”That is not good,” Larry Youngblood, leader of the Houston chapter of the Texas Border Volunteers, said about the new wave of immigrants. ”We’ve got about 400,000 to 450,000 in Houston already. And obviously they’re not all day laborers — not all are criminals — but we don’t need more.”
”We have to assume they’ll bring some wives and kids with them, so therefore our schools will be re-inundated. And traffic will be worse, too.
See? This is a beautiful thing. States where they don’t want illegals — which is most of them — are cracking down and the illegals are running to Texas, a state with poor border security, that has allowed illegals to pour into the rest of the country.
Here’s an idea: since Texas is so “receptive to the reality of the undocumented immigrant,” let’s see how many illegals they can handle. 700k, 800k, 2 million, 3 million, 5 million, heck, let’s get all 12 million of them into Texas and see how that works out. According to the amnesty and open borders crowd, illegals are good for the economy, right? They’re a huge plus for the country, right? There’s no such thing as too many illegals, right?
Great, let’s test that out in Texas and see how it plays out.
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