Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Immigrant Exodus

Already last year restrictive measures by localities against the undocumented immigrant had led to many fleeing to other towns or returning home. It was Brazilians in the the Delaware River Valley and Mexicans from Hazelton, PA. Many advocates of such restrictive laws welcomed the departures. But when the phenomenon appeared on a large scale, in Oklahoma or Arizona, notwithstanding the glee of the nativists, an economic penalty began to tell. (See NY Times article.) Not all of the exodus can be attributed solely to the punitive legislation. The slowing economy has both stemmed the flow of new immigrants from Mexico and stirred discouraged laid-off construction workers to look elsewhere for jobs. Still the chill among employers because of sanction and the despiriting impact on Hispanic communiyies have been very evident.

In the wake of the administrative nightmare created by the unprecedented demands for citizenship and for permanent residence, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has taken a step to speed up the process by moving ahead before all FBI background checks are completed. (See Washington Post article.)

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